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The Ontario Institute 
for Studies in Education 

Toronto, Canada 


MAY 271971 







F. V. N. PAINTER, A. M., 

Pkofbssor of Modern Languages in Roanoke College, and Authok 
OF A " History of Education." 

St. Louis, Mo. 
concordia publishing house. 



THIS little work illustrates the growth of an idea. 
It began with the translation of the " Letter to 
the Mayors and Aldermen of all the Cities of Ger- 
many in behalf of Christian Schools," of which a 
perusal a few years ago had led me to say in my 
" History of Education : " " If we consider its pioneer 
character, in connection with its statement of princi- 
ples and admirable recommendations, the address 
must be regarded the most important educational 
treatise ever written." The translation of the "Ser- 
mon on Ihe Duty of Sending Children to School," 
the most elaborate of Luther's educational writings, 
naturally followed as presenting more fully the great 
Reformer's views. The interest thus awakened led to 
an examination of all that he had written about edu- 
cation, and to an attempt to arrange in a somewhat 
systematic form his educational opinions and princi- 
ples. The fact that no great character can be fully 



understood without an acquaintance with the age in 
which he lived and the movements with which he 
was identified, led to the preparation of the first four 
chapters as a historical introduction. 

The justification of the work must be found partly 
in the interest and value of Luther's views, and partly 
in the relation of those views to educational progress. 
Though it is not generally recognized, yet Luther 
brought about as important a reformation in educa- 
tion as in religion. With his earnest nature and pro- 
found penetration he laid hold of fundamental facts 
and principles that are often neglected in the rapid 
movements of the present. The progress of our 
century in education — a progress that constitutes no 
small part of its pre-eminence — has its roots in the 
principles and labors of the German reformer. This 
fact, it is believed, renders the present work a not 
untimely contribution to our excellent and rapidly 
increasing educational literature. 

The two treatises of Luther contained in this work 
have never before appeared in English. The transla- 
tion is made from the Leipsic edition of Luther's 
works. A judicious medium between a literal and a 
periphrastic rendering has been aimed at, but it is not 
easy to make the great, rugged, impetuous German 
speak our language acceptably. Except the passages 


from his Catechisms, of which there are several good 
translations, nearly all the extracts illustrating the 
Reformer's educational views have been taken directly 
from the German. Whenever an extract has been 
thought of especial importance, a reference has been 
given to its source; but in most cases this has not 
been deemed necessary. 

F. V. N. Painter. 
Salem, Virginia, September 5, i88g. 


Causes of the Reformation 9 

The Papacy and Popular Education 32 

Protestantism and Popular Education 52 

Education before the Reformation 75 

Luther 90 

Luther on Domestic Training 113 

Luther on Schools 128 


Luther on Studies and Methods i47 



Letter to the Mayors and Aldermen of the Cities 
OF Germany in behalf of Christian Schools . . 169 


Sermon on the Duty of Sending Children to 
School 210 




THE greatest achievement of the Germanic race, and 
the most important event in history since the ad- 
vent of Christ, is the Reformation of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. Though involving a multitude of interests, it 
was essentially a religious movement, which sought to 
correct the errors in doctrine and practice that had 
crept into the Church. In connection with cooperat- 
ing influences presently to be noticed, the Reformation 
began a new stage in human progress ; it marks the 
close of the Middle Ages, and the dawn of the modern 
era. Insignificant in its beginning, it appealed so 
strongly to the conscience of the Teutonic nations that 
it speedily assumed a world-wide significance. There 
is scarcely an important human interest that it has not 
affected. It has secured greater purity and spirituality 
1* (9) 


in religion ; it has contributed to the elevation of the 
laity and the advancement of woman ; it has confirmed 
the separation of the secular and the ecclesiastical 
power ; it has given an extraordinary impulse to litera- 
ture and science ; it has established the right of liberty 
of conscience ; in a word, it is closely related to all 
that distinguishes and ennobles our modern civiliza- 

The Reformation has long been a subject of con- 
troversy ; and at the present time, because of recent 
Roman Catholic attacks, its origin and significance are 
being investigated with renewed interest. In many of 
the discussions of the past, ignorance, prejudice, and 
passion have led to one-sided statements, and to erron- 
eous or inadequate explanations. There have been 
writers of high rank, as Hume and Voltaire, who have 
alleged the rivalry between the Augustinian and the 
Dominican friars as the origin of the Reformation. 
" You are not unaware," says the Frenchman, " that this 
great revolution in the human mind and in the politi- 
cal system of Europe began with Martin Luther, an 
Augustinian monk, whom his superiors deputed to 
preach against the traffic in indulgences which had 
been refused them. The quarrel was at first between 
the Augustinians and the Dominicans."* The state- 

* Voltaire, Essai sur les Moeurs, chapter 127. 



ments made in the latter part of this extract are wholly 
without foundation. 

The Roman Catholic view has the merit of great 
simplicity. The Reformation was a rebellion against 
the Church. Luther, the arch -heretic, or, as Audin 
calls him, " the Sampson of the Reformation," led the 
revolt, and gathered about him all the elements of dis- 
content existing in the social and the religious world. 
" He arbitrarily set himself up as a reformer of the 
Church, inveighed against the ecclesiastical authorities, 
especially against the Pope, whose supreme power he 
denounced as usurpation and tyranny. . , In pursu- 
ance of his wrong views, he rejected many articles of 
faith which the Church had received from Christ and 
his apostles. He discarded the holy sacrifice of the 
mass, fasting, confession, prayers for the dead, and 
many other pious practices; he declared good works 
to be useless, and taught that man is justified and 
saved by faith alone. . . Luther boasted that he took 
his doctrine from the Bible only ; but being misled by 
the false rule of private judgment in its interpretation, 
he soon fell into the most palpable contradictions and 
errors. . . Nevertheless he soon obtained many fol- 
lowers ; for the thoughtless multitude were very much 
pleased with such easy doctrine, which allowed them 
to lead a dissolute life, and covetous princes found 


nothing more conformable to their wishes than the 
suppression of churches and monasteries."* Apart 
from the many erroneous statements contained in this 
passage, particularly in reference to the uselessness of 
good works, and the dissoluteness of life encouraged 
by the " easy doctrines " of Protestantism, the explana- 
tion of the reformatory movement is exceedingly in- 
adequate and biased. 

I. Among the several cooperating causes of the 
Reformation now to be considered, a prominent place 
must be given to the effort of the human mind in 
Europe to throw off the oppressive intellectual tyranny 
of the Papacy. The Reformation, says Guizot, " was 
a vast effort made by the human mind to achieve its 
freedom ; it was a new-born desire which it felt, to 
think and judge freely and independently of facts and 
opinions which till then Europe received, or was con- 
sidered bound to receive, from the hands of authority. 
It was a great endeavor to emancipate human reason ; 
and, to call things by their right names, it was an in- 
surrection of the human mind against the absolute 
power of the spiritual order. "f 

 A Full Catechism of the Catholic Religion, by the Rev. 
Joseph Deharbe, S. J. Twelfth American Edition. Imprima- 
tur of N. Card. Wiseman, and of John Card. McCloskey. 

t Guizot, History of Civilization. Chapter XII. 


The correctness and significance of this explanation 
of the reformatory movement will appear upon a brief 
survey of the facts. At the opening of the sixteenth 
century, the human mind in Europe had attained a 
higher plane of intelligence than it had occupied for a 
thousand years. This result was brought about by 
many remarkable circumstances. The revival of 
classical learning, which had its central point in the 
downfall of Constantinople in 1453, exerted a strong 
and pervading influence. It opened the literary treas- 
ures of Greece and Rome — the richest fruitage of 
heathen intellect — and awakened Europe with its new 
and higher form of culture. The invention of gun- 
powder wrought an important and salutary change in 
society. It weakened the influence and power of the 
knightly order, which had hitherto been preeminent in 
military operations, and by placing a powerful weapon 
in the hands of the lower classes, it gradually led to 
an amelioration of their condition. The discovery of 
America and of a sea-passage to the East Indies, led 
to numerous voyages of exploration, quickened com- 
mercial activity, and made large contributions to the 
general store of knowledge. In the cities an influen- 
tial middle class, or " third estate," composed of mer- 
chants and artisans, won recognition at the hands of 
the nobility and the clergy — the two orders that had 


been preeminent during the reign of feudalism. The 
rise of the universities, beginning with that of Bologna 
in the twelfth century, stimulated intellectual pursuits, 
and promoted the diffusion of knowledge. The inven- 
tion of printing, which at once supplanted the tedious 
and costly process of copying books by hand, multi- 
plied the sources of knowledge, and brought them 
within reach of a larger circle of readers. These cir- 
cumstances harmoniously worked together in lifting 
Europe to a higher intellectual plane, and in making the 
people restive under an ecclesiastical tutelage which, 
in matters of supreme importance, forbade, under fear* 
ful penalties, all independence of thought and judgment. 

2. Another cause of the Reformation is found in the 
unbelief, ignorance, worldliness, and vice, that charac- 
terized many representatives of the Papacy at that 
period. Attempts have been made by recent Roman 
Catholic writers to reconstruct the accepted history of 
that age, and to gloss over the corrupt condition of the 
Church. But a careful investigation of the subject 
amply justifies the rise of Protestantism, and shows 
that the precious heritage of existing freedom and cul- 
ture is not the result of a tremendous error. 

" The Reformation," says Hegel, " resulted from the 
corruption of the Churchy* While there were many 

* Hegel, Philosophy of History. 


devout and intelligent Christians in the Church (a fact 
that should not be forgotten), its general condition, 
from the Pope down to the humblest sexton, was a 
reproach to its divine Founder. The spiritual con- 
ception of the Church had been lost. It had been 
gradually transformed into a vast external organiza- 
tion, officered by the Pope and his subordinates, and 
used by them for selfish and sensual ends. At the 
court of Rome, in the midst of excessive outward 
splendor, there existed a spirit of unbelief and licen- 
tiousness. The remark that Leo X. is said to have 
made to his secretary Bembo accords well with the 
prevailing spirit in the pontifical palace: "All the 
world knows how profitable this fable of Christ has 
been to us and ours."* The wide-spread infidelity led 
the tenth Lateran Council to establish the doctrine of 
the immortality of the soul by a special decree. When 
Luther was dispatched to Rome as the envoy of the 
Augustine brotherhood, he was one day at table with 
several distinguished prelates, whose conversation, as 
he tells us, was impious. Among other things, they 
boasted that at mass, instead of the sacramental words, 
they mockingly pronounced over the elements, " Bread 
thou art, and bread thou shalt remain ; wine thou art, 

*D'Aubign6, History of the Reformation, Book i, Chapter 7, 
where the original source is given. 


and wine thou shalt remain." Blasphemy was never 
more shameless. Ardor for antiquity became intoxi- 
cation, and the paganism of Athens was revived in 
Christian Rome. The simple language of the Scrip- 
ture became offensive to the devotees of the classics, 
and its sublime truths were subject to outrageous par- 
ody. The Holy Ghost was written " the breath of the 
heavenly zephyr," and the expression to forgive sins 
was rendered " to bend the manes and the sovereign 
gods." Alexander VI. was a monster of impiety. 
During his reign the Vatican became the scene of 
treachery and murder, and the dissolute entertainments 
given in the pontifical palace surpassed the groves of 
antiquity in horrible licentiousness. 

As the head, so the members. The bishops lived 
in the midst of splendor, and squandered in sensual 
pleasures the revenues of the Church. In seeking to 
extend their authority, they were frequently at war 
with cities and princes. Ecclesiastical offices were 
bought and sold, and children were raised to episcopal 
dignity. The secular clergy or priests were coarse 
and ignorant, and through the unnatural law of celi- 
bacy, they became exceedingly corrupt in morals. 
They fell into disrepute with the common people, who 
ridiculed them in songs and pictures ; and for a cen- 
tury or longer they were the notorious targets for the 
shafts of satirists. 


Of the monasteries frightful pictures are given by 
writers of the time. The following portrayal, given 
by John Schiphower, himself a monk, is not more 
condemning than innumerable others that have been 
left us. After speaking of the shamelessness of the 
monks in preaching and in controversy, he continues : 
" The manner in which they lived their lives is equally 
objectionable. They much better understood how to 
draw liquor from goblets than information from books. 
With drinking and carousing companions, they sit in 
taverns, carry on games and illicit amours, and daily 
intoxicate themselves. And these are — priests ! they 
are indeed so called, but they are — brutes."* In this 
sad state of the Church, which has not been too 
darkly depicted, was found a strong appeal for reform- 
atory measures. 

3. Another cause of the Reformation is found in 
the external character imposed upon religion by the 
Papacy. The legalism and ceremonial of the Old 
Testament were substituted for the grace and spiritual 
worship of the New Testament. The religion of 
Christ consists essentially in a personal relation to 
him — a relation of faith, love and obedience. Salva- 
tion is not something earned by human effort, but a 
gift proceeding from the infinite love of God. The 

* Tischer, Life of Luther. 


will of the believer is brought into harmony with the 
divine will. The Christian enjoys constant com- 
munion with God, to whom he has immediate access 
through Christ. By the profound reverence and 
obedient love begotten of faith, men become the sons 
of God, the recipients of all the privileges and bless- 
ings pertaining to a filial relation. The kingdom of 
God in the world is composed of the collective body 
of believers — a kingdom, not of outward pomp and 
splendor, but of inward purity, love, and obedience. 
The written Word of God is its law. In this king- 
dom, every longing of our nature finds complete sat- 
isfaction, and human nature is unspeakably ennobled, 
not only by the filial relation it sustains to God, but 
also by the pure affections that reign in the heart. 
All this was perverted by the Papacy. The spiritual 
kingdom of Christ was supplanted by an outward 
kingdom, presided over by a succession of ecclesias- 
tical princes. The Pope, as the vicar of Christ, stood 
at its head. Everything pertaining to the kingdom — 
doctrine, government, and worship — received an ex- 
ternal character. The representatives of the Church 
surrounded themselves with regal magnificence. In 
order to maintain this splendor, the laity were bur- 
dened with numberless pecuniary exactions. Says 
Martin Meyer, a chancellor at Mayence in 1457: "A 


thousand ways are devised, by which the Romish 
chair cunningly robs us poor barbarians of money. 
And thus it has come about that our nation, once so 
highly renowned, and which by its courage and blood 
set up the Roman empire, and rose to be mistress and 
queen of the world, has now been reduced to a poor, 
servile, and tributary condition, and for many years has 
been groveling in the mire, and deploring her misfor- 
tune and poverty."* Opposition of every kind was 
put down by force. Kings were dethroned, as in the 
case of John of England, and Henry IV. of Germany ; 
reformers, like Huss and Jerome of Prague, were 
burned; and communities of a purer religious faith 
and practice, like the Albigenses, were exterminated 
by fire and sword. The mass, in which the conse- 
crated elements are offered to God as a sacrifice for 
the living and the dead, became the central point in 
worship. The preaching of the truth, through which 
men's hearts and lives are transformed, fell into disuse. 
By means of indulgences, sin could in a measure be 
compounded for with money. The distinguishing 
features of a religious life were not love and obedience 
to God, but pilgrimages, flagellations, and fastings. 
Religion became a thing of outward observances, not 
of inward piety. Myconius, who was long a monk, 

* Ullmann, Reformers before the Reformation, Vol. I., 194. 


but afterwards a fellow-laborer of Luther's, has given a 
graphic picture of the religious life of the period: 
" The sufferings and merit of Christ were looked upon 
as an idle tale, or as the fictions of Homer. There 
was no thought of the faith by which we become par- 
takers of the Saviour's righteousness and of the heri- 
tage of eternal life. Christ was looked upon as a 
severe judge, prepared to condemn all who should not 
have recourse to the intercession of the saints, or to 
the papal indulgences. Other intercessors appeared 
in his place ; first the Virgin Mary, like the Diana of 
paganism, and then the saints, whose numbers were 
continually augmented by the Popes. These media- 
tors granted their intercession only to such applicants 
as had deserved well of the Orders founded by them. 
For this it was necessary to do, not what God had 
commanded in his Word, but to perform a number of 
works invented by monks and priests, and which 
brought money to the treasury. These works were 
Ave Marias, the prayers of Saint Ursula and of Saint 
Bridget: they must chant and cry night and day. 
There were as many resorts for pilgrims as there were 
mountains, forests, and valleys. But these penances 
might be compounded for with money. The people, 
therefore, brought to the convents and to the priests 
money and everything that had any value — fowls, 


ducks, geese, eggs, wax, straw, butter and cheese. 
Then the hymns resounded, the bells rang, incense 
filled the sanctuary, sacrifices were offered up, the 
larder overflowed, the glasses went round, and masses 
terminated and concealed these pious orgies. The 
bishops no longer preached, but they consecrated 
priests, bells, monks, churches, chapels, images, books, 
and cemeteries; and all this brought in a large revenue. 
Bones, arms, and feet were preserved in gold and silver 
boxes ; they were given out during mass for the faith- 
ful to kiss, and this, too, was a source of great profit."* 
It is not to be denied that in the externalism of 
which we have been speaking, there was something 
adapted to an uncultivated age, incapable of high spir- 
itual emotion. The Papacy may be regarded as a 
naturcd historical development, though embodying an 
error destined to work its ruin. A special priestly 
class was helpful in administering the affairs of the 
Church, and in governing the lawlessness of an un- 
disciplined people. An imposing ritual served to in- 
spire religious awe at a time when simpler ministra- 
tions might have left the heart untouched. But at the 
period of the Reformation, the Teutonic nations had 

♦Myconius, History of the Reformation. This extract is 
taken from D'Aubigne. Myconius was held in high esteem by 
Luther and Melancthon. 


outgrown this externalism, and apart from its abuses 
they began to long for something higher and better. 
Their deep religious nature, no longer satisfied with 
forms and symbols, demanded a spiritual Christianity, 
in which the soul might be united with God, and life 
in its ordinary duties be sanctified as a divine service. 
This feeling found expression in the mystics of the four- 
teenth century, who were characterized by an inward 
piety. It was manifested also at the reformatory 
Councils of Constance and Basel. It is found in the 
writings of such men as Wyclif and Huss, and also, 
on a larger scale, in the doctrine and practice of the 
Waldenses. When at length Luther proposed a re- 
turn to the Christianity of the New Testament, he 
had the support of Germany. 

4. Another cause of the Reformation is found in 
the pretensions of the Papacy to temporal power, and 
in the growth of a national feeling in the several 
countries of Europe. The Papacy, as it existed at 
the time of the Reformation, was the result of a de- 
velopment extending through many centuries. Step 
by step, from the congregational polity of the apos- 
tolic church, the episcopal power increased, until under 
Gregory VII., in the eleventh century, it reached 
its climax in the universal supremacy of the Roman 
pontiff. "The world," says Gregory, "is governed 


by two lights — by the sun, which is greater, and by 
the moon, which is less. The apostolic power is the 
sun ; the royal power, the moon. For as the latter 
has its light from the former, so do emperors, and 
kings, and princes, receive power through the Pope, 
who receives it from God. Thus the power of the 
Roman chair is greater than the power of the throne, 
and the king is subordinate to the Pope, and bound to 
obey him."* The Papacy, as we see, aimed at a 
theocracy, in which the pontiff, as vicar of Christ, 
was to possess universal dominion. This power was 
not simply theoretical, but also practical. In the long 
conflicts between the Popes and the sovereigns of 
Europe, it was frequently exercised. The Roman 
pontiff seated and dethroned kings. He placed 
nations under the ban, cutting off every religious 
privilege and comfort. He sought to exempt eccle- 
siastics, no matter how flagrant their crimes, from 
secular jurisdiction. He acquired temporal dominion, 
interfered with secular authority, formed political alli- 
ances, waged cruel wars. 

But while the Papacy was at the very height of its 
power, a mighty influence was slowly but surely 

* This is a famous passage. It is found in various church 
histories. As here given, it is translated from Kohlraush, 
Deutsche Geschichte. 


undermining its authority. From various causes, the 
several nations of Europe — Germany, France, Spain, 
England — were acquiring a strong self-consciousness. 
It was a part of that general progress manifest in all 
Europe toward the close of the Middle Ages. In 
every country a spirit of patriotism was awakened — a 
spirit that opposed all interference on the part of a 
foreign prince, even when clothed with supreme eccle- 
siastical dignity. Papal pecuniary exactions met with 
increasing opposition ; papal bulls were sometimes dis- 
regarded or resisted; reverence for the Pope as head 
of the Church declined among princes and people. 
Louis XII., of France, had a medal struck with the in- 
scription, " Perdam Babylonis nomen — I will destroy 
the name of Babylon." Maximilian, of Austria, speak- 
ing of Leo X., by whom he had been deceived, said, 
" This Pope also, in my opinion, is a scoundrel. I 
may now say that never in my life has any Pope kept 
his faith or his word with me." During the so-called 
Babylonish captivity of the Papacy at Avignon, in the 
fourteenth century, its sympathy with French interests, 
and its subserviency to French kings, intensified this 
national feeling against the Popes. The literary mind 
in the several countries of Europe led a reaction 
against Roman domination. The vernacular languages, 
which toward the close of the Middle Ages began to 


assume a literary form, were made the media of sharp 
and unceasing attacks upon the avarice, tyranny, and 
degeneracy of the papal hierarchy. Walther von der 
Vogelweide, the best of the Minnesingers of the thir- 
teenth century, says that " the Pope himself increases 
infidelity, for he leads the clergy by the devil's rein ; 
they are full of vices, they do not practice what they 
preach, and he who is a Christian in words only, and 
not in deeds, is really half a heathen." In the Pro- 
logue to the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer, along with an 
inimitable portrait of a faithful village pastor, depicts 
the coarse sensuality of a friar, and the shallow fraud 
of a pardoner or indulgence vender : 

" Whose walet lay biforn hym in his lappe 
Brimful of pardon, come from Rome all hot. 

But of his craft, fro Berwyk unto Ware 
Ne was there such another pardoner ; 
For in his male^ he had a pilwebeer' 
Which, that he seyde, was oure lady veyl ; 
He said he had a gobet" of the seyl 
Thatte St. Peter hadde whan that he wcntc 
Upon the sea, til Jhesu Crist hym hente.* 
He had a croys of latoun* full of stones 
And in a glas he hadde pigges bones." 

> Valise. "Pillow-case. 'Piece. *Took. 
^ A kind of tinned iron. 


Thus, on every hand, was gathering a storm that 
needed only a favorable opportunity to burst upon 

5. Behind all these causes we must not forget the 
providence of God. He is ever present in the great 
movements of succeeding generations. Though His 
presence is unrecognized by the heedless multitude, it 
becomes manifest to the devout inquirer who, turning 
away from the distracting turmoil of human events, 
seeks in all things an ultimate cause and an intelligent 
purpose. God in history is a great fact, an invaluable 
lesson coming to us from the Old Testament, a mighty 
truth that gathers up what is seemingly fragmentary 
in human affairs, and binds them together in the sym- 
metry of a majestic temple. Not alone for the advent 
of Christ, but for every significant epoch in the world's 
progress, there is a " fullness of time." The history 
of mankind is not a chaos. The hand of God is 
especially manifest in the Reformation. The favoring 
circumstances that we have considered, were not, as 
some believe, a fortuitous concurrence, but an intelli- 
gent preparation for a new era of human advance- 

When everything was ready, the reformatory work 
began. Its immediate occasion was Tetzel's sale of 
indulgences. According to the Romish faith, *'an 


indulgence is a remission of that temporal punish- 
ment which, even after the sin is forgiven, we have 
yet to undergo, either here or in purgatory." 

The Church, it is claimed, has an inexhaustible 
treasure of the merits of Christ and his saints, which 
the Pope can draw upon at any time to make up 
deficiencies in individual members. At the time of 
the Reformation, this doctrine had given rise to gross 
abuses. This fact was recognized by the Council of 
Trent, which, after declaring that the use of indul- 
gences should be retained in the Church, continues in 
its decree: "Nevertheless, the Council desires that 
moderation be shown in granting them, according to 
the ancient and approved custom of the Church, lest 
by too much laxity ecclesiastical discipline be weak- 
ened. Anxious moreover to correct and amend the 
abuses that have crept in, and by reason of which the 
honorable name of indulgences is blasphemed by the 
heretics, the Council determines generally by this 
present decree, that all wicked gains accruing from 
them, which have been the principal source of these 
abuses, shall be wholly abolished."* The abuses 
"proceeding from superstition, ignorance, and irrever- 
ence" are referred by the Council to the several bish- 

* Smets, Concilii Tridentini, Sessio XXV. Schaff. Creeds of 
Christendom, Vol. II. 


ops. Let US inquire a little more closely into the 
nature of these abuses. 

In order to provide funds for the completion of St. 
Peter's at Rome, Leo X. had ordered a sale of in- 
dulgences. In 15 17 John Tetzel, acting as agent for 
Albert, elector of Mayence, appeared at Jiiterbock, not 
far from Wittenberg, and proceeded to dispose of his 
wares. Shrewd and unscrupulous, he extolled the 
virtue of indulgences in a shameless and even blas- 
phemous manner. "His red cross with the Pope's 
arms," Tetzel said, " was as efficacious as the cross of 
Christ. In heaven he would not exchange places with 
St. Peter, for he had saved more souls with his indul- 
gences than the apostle had saved with his gospel. 
The grace of indulgences was precisely the grace by 
which man was reconciled with God. Sorrow for sin 
was not necessary when an indulgence was bought ; 
and as soon as the money rattled in the chest, the soul 
leaped from purgatory into heaven. Such great grace 
and power had been conferred upon him at Rome, that 
if any one had done violence to the Virgin Mary, he 
could forgive it, together with future sins, if the of- 
fender paid a sufficient sum of money."* Without re- 

♦Matthesius, Leben Luther's, Zweites Predigt. See also 
Meurer, Life of Luther, and D^Aubigne, History of Reforma- 


pentance, all the penalties of sin were removed, and 
heaven was gained by money. Tetzel had even fixed 
a scale of prices for particular sins. For polygamy the 
charge was six ducats; for sacrilege and perjury, nine 
ducats ; for murder, eight ducats ; for witchcraft, two 
ducats. Such were some of the abuses of this infamous 

Luther at this time was a professor, preacher, and 
pastor at Wittenberg. In the confessional, some of his 
people who had attended Tetzel's auction acknowl- 
edged gross sins — adultery, licentiousness, usury, ill- 
gotten gains ; and when Luther sought to correct them, 
they refused to amend their lives. They appealed to 
their indulgences, which Luther would not recognize ; 
and in the language ot the Scripture he declared unto 
them, " Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." 
Having thus seen the demoralizing effect of indulgences 
upon the religious life, and having also learned of 
Tetzel's blasphemous pretensions, he prepared ninety- 
five theses or propositions which were aimed at the 
abuses of the traffic, but which in reality undermined 
the doctrine of indulgences itself. " When our Lord 
and Master Jesus Christ said. Repent ye, etc., he meant 
that the whole earthly life of believers should be a re- 
pentance (Thesis i). . . The Pope has neither the will 
nor the power to remit any penalties, except those 


which he has imposed by his own authority, or by that 
of the canons of the Church (5). . . Those preachers 
of indulgences are in error who say that, by the indul- 
gences of the Pope, a man is loosed and saved from 
all punishment (21). . . They preach the vain fancies 
of man, who say that the soul flies out of purgatory 
as soon as the money rattles in the chest (27). . . 
Those who believe that through letters of pardon they 
are made sure of their own salvation, will be eternally 
damned along with their teachers (32). We must 
especially beware of those who say that these pardons 
from the Pope are that inestimable gift of God, by 
which man is reconciled to God (33). . . They preach 
no Christian doctrine who teach that sorrow or repent- 
ance is not necessary for those who buy souls out of 
purgatory, or buy confessional licenses (35). Every 
Christian who truly repents of his sins has of right 
plenary remission of pain and guilt, even without let- 
ters of pardon (36). . . To say that the cross set up 
among the insignia of the papal arms is of equal power 
with the cross of Christ, is blasphemy (79)." 

These theses were nailed on the door of the church 
of All Saints, at Wittenberg, Oct. 31, 15 17, and Luther 
oflfered to defend them against all comers. A papal 
agent and an accepted doctrine were attacked. In the 
issue thus joined, the Reformation had its beginning. 



Summing up the results of this inquiry, we may say 
that the Reformation was due chiefly to the following 
co-operative causes : 

1. A reaction, brought about by the increased intel- 
ligence of the people, against ecclesiastical oppression, 

2. The corrupt condition of the Church in doctrine 
and practice. 

3. The external character imposed upon Christianity 
by the Papacy. 

4. The pretensions of the Popes to temporal power 
in the presence of a growing national spirit. 

5. Back of these causes, the providence of God, 
which arranged the " fullness of time," and raised up 
the proper agent. 



THE Papacy must be distinguished from the Roman 
Catholic Church. According to authoritative 
CathoHc standards, the Church is composed of all the 
faithful who have been baptized, profess the same doc- 
trine, partake of the same sacraments, and are gov- 
erned by one visible head, the Pope. Accepting this 
definition, external and defective as it is, we cheerfully 
recognize in the Roman Catholic communion the ex- 
istence of evangelical piety. At the present time, as 
in the past, it contains many God-fearing men and 
women. The Papacy is the governing power of the 
Church. In its aims and methods, and in some of its 
teachings, even when administered by pious men, it is 
mischievous, tyrannical, and anti-Christian. It is the 
relation of the Papacy to popular education that is to 
be considered. While the Roman Church as a whole 
entertains the same views, it is not primarily responsi- 
ble for them. The Church simply obeys the orders 
of its official leaders. 

The Papacy, with all its boasted unity, has not al- 


ways been at one with itself. Two antagonistic views 
have existed for centuries in regard to the powers of 
the See of Rome. The Gallican or episcopal view, 
represented by many distinguished prelates and de- 
fended by the Councils of Constance and Basel, makes 
the Church the ultimate source of authority. The 
Pope is but the administrative head of the Church. 
The Church finds utterance in its General Councils, 
which are superior to the Pope, and competent to pass 
laws binding upon him. This view restricts the Pope's 
jurisdiction to spiritual things, and forbids his interfer- 
ence in political affairs. It harmonizes papal suprem- 
acy with national independence. It is called Gallican, 
because its exemplification and its leading advocates 
as Gerson and Bossuet, were found in France. 

The opposite of Gallicanism is Ultramontanism. 
The Ultramontane view makes the Pope the vicar of 
Christ on earth. As such he is the source of all 
power, both spiritual and temporal. The Church is 
under his absolute control. In his official utterances, 
he is incapable of erring. Princes are bound to obey 
him ; and when he deems it desirable for the interests 
of the Church, he may resist or depose them. All 
episcopal authority is derived from him. It is his pre- 
rogative to call Councils, to watch over their proceed- 
ings, and to give validity to their decrees. He is the 


universal teacher of the Church, the authoritative in- 
terpreter of Scripture, and the source of all doctrine. 
When the decree of papal infallibility was passed by 
the Vatican Council in 1870, Ultramontanism was 
given a permanent ascendency. On this line the 
Roman Church is now working out its destiny. It is 
the purpose of the Papacy to secure universal suprem- 
acy; and it is this fact that renders it a constant men- 
ace and danger to existing institutions. 

The organization of the Church, which embodies 
the practical wisdom of ages, is exceedingly compact. 
The laity are bound to obey the priest ; the priest, the 
bishop ; and the bishop, the Pope. This arrangement 
is supported in a surprising manner by doctrines, 
oaths, and penalties, and is designed to give the Pope 
absolute control of the clergy and laity throughout 
the world. 

In the " Dogmatic Decrees of the Vatican Council " 
of 1870, it is said that "all the faithful of Christ must 
believe that the holy Apostolic See and the Roman 
pontiff possesses the primacy over the world, and that the 
Roman pontiff is the successor of the blessed Peter, 
Prince of Apostles, and is the true vicar of Christ, and 
head of the whole Church, and father and teacher of 
all Christians; and that full power was given to him in 
blessed Peter to rule, feed, and govern the universal 


Church by Jesus Christ our Lord." A careful reading 
of these decrees in the light of history fully justifies 
Mr. Gladstone's judgment, that they " in the strictest 
sense establish for the Pope supreme command over 
loyal and civil duty."* Every Catholic layman, 
whether he realizes it or not, is bound by his connec- 
tion with the Church to yield in all things obedience 
to the Pope. His ballot and the education of his chil- 
dren are subject to the Roman pontiff. In view of 
these facts, Bismarck was right when he said in 1875, 
" This Pope, this foreigner, this Italian, is more power- 
ful in this country than any one person, not excepting 
even the King." 

The authority of the Pope over the clergy is con- 
firmed by an oath. After requiring fidelity and obedi- 
ence to the Roman pontiff, the form of oath continues: 
** The rights, honors, privileges and authority of the 
holy Roman Church, of our lord the Pope, and his 
aforesaid successors, I will endeavor to preserve, de- 
fend, increase, and advance. I will not be in any 
counsel, action, or treaty, in which shall be plotted 
against our said lord, and the said Roman Church, 
any thing to the hurt or prejudice of their persons, 
rights, honor, state, or power ; and if I shall know of 
any such thing to be treated by any whatsoever, I will 

* Vaticanism, p. 7. 


hinder it to my power ; and as soon as I can, I will 
signify it to our said lord, or to some other, by whom 
it may come to his knowledge . . . Heretics, schis- 
matics, and rebels to our said lord or his aforesaid 
successors, I will to my power persecute and oppose."* 
The Constitution of the United States forbids the 
establishment of a state religion, and guarantees lib- 
erty of conscience, and freedom of the press. Our 
naturalization laws require that " the alien seeking to 
be naturalized shall make oath that he will support 
the Constitution of the United States, and that he 
absolutely and entirely renounces and abjures all 
allegiance and fidelity to every foreign prince, poten- 
tate, or sovereignty, particularly the state or sove- 
reignty of which he has been a subject." Our institu- 
tions are opposed to the principles of the Papacy. 
No Roman prelate of foreign birth can take the nat- 
uralization oath without perjury or disloyalty to the 
Pope. In holding to Ultramontanism, the Roman 
clergy of this country are a body of aliens, whose 
principles are at war with American institutions. 
The doctrines and discipline of the Roman Church 

* Pontificale Romanum. The last sentence in the original 
reads : " Haereticos, Schismaticos et Rebelles eidem Domino 
nostro vel successoribus praedictis pro posse persequar ct im- 


are marvelously adapted to maintain and perpetuate 
the power of the Papacy. A hierarchy is established 
between the laity and God — a hierarchy through 
which as a channel salvation is communicated. The 
sacrifice of the mass is the central thing in worship. 
By means of this sacrifice, the priest makes an oflfer- 
ing to God for the sins of the living and the dead. 
According to the doctrine of indulgences, the Pope 
can draw upon the treasury of supererogatory merits 
to supply the deficiencies of needy members. Through 
auricular confession, the priest obtains possession of 
the inmost secrets of individuals and families. In the 
case of disobedience, the Church imposes severe pen- 
alties ; and where it is free to use external force, it 
resorts at last to the stake. With such a system, it is 
not strange that Roman ecclesiastics have almost un- 
limited power over their members. Resistance to 
priestly authority not only subjects the laity to tem- 
poral persecution, but it also cuts them off, as they 
are taught to believe, from the hope of eternal life. 

In the light of the foregoing statement of facts and 
principles, we are better prepared to consider a num- 
ber of points relating directly or indirectly to popular 
education, especially in this country. 

I. The idea of temporal power is inherent in the 
Ultramontane conception of the Papacy. As the rep- 


resentative of God in the world, the Pope is logically 
the source of all authority, whether ecclesiastical or 
secular. Civil rulers are bound to obey him. In the 
famous bull, Unam sanctum^ of Boniface VIII., it is 
declared that " The spiritual sword is to be used by 
the Church, but the carnal sword for the Church. 
The one in the hands of the priest, the other in the 
hands of kings and soldiers, but at the will and 
pleasure of the priest. It is right that the temporal 
sword and authority be subject to the spiritual power. 
. . Moreover, we declare, say, define, and pronounce, 
that every human being should be subject to the 
Roman pontiff." The Papacy at the present day has 
not receded from its claims during the Middle Ages. 
The papal " Syllabus of Errors" of 1864, which must 
now be regarded as an infallible and irreformable 
declaration of principles, condemns the following 
propositions : " 24. The Church has not the power of 
availing herself of force, or any direct or indirect 
temporal power . . . 27. The ministers of the Church 
and the Roman pontiff ought to be absolutely ex- 
cluded from all charge and dominion over temporal 
affairs. . . 42. In the case of conflicting laws between 
the two powers, the civil law ought to prevail." In 
this same Syllabus it is declared that the Church is 
absolutely independent of the State in the exercise of 


authority; that the obligations of Catholic teachers 
and authors are not confined to dogmas of faith ; that 
Roman pontiffs have never exceeded the limits of 
their power ; that the Church has the innate and le- 
gitimate right of acquisition and possession; and that 
the immunity of the Church and of ecclesiastical per- 
sons is not derived from the civil law. In these state- 
ments the Papacy shows itself to-day what it has been 
in the past ; it disowns no part of its history, and re- 
affirms the preposterous claims of the Middle Ages. 
It is a mistake to suppose that the Papacy has been 
influenced in its essential principles by modern pro- 
gress. Lulled by this belief, we have become some- 
what indifferent to the schemes and efforts of its rep- 
resentatives. In the "Syllabus of Errors" already 
referred to, the proposition is explicitly condemned 
that " the Roman pontiff can and ought to reconcile 
himself to and agree with progress, liberalism, and 
civilization, as lately introduced." By this declara- 
tion the Pope shows himself out of sympathy with 
modern civilization, and opposed to its broad and 
tolerant spirit. He places himself at the head of a 
reactionary body, that seeks to set up again the des- 
potic reign of the dark ages. 

2. The Papacy specifically repudiates religious free- 
dom. This is consistent with its fundamental claim. 


As the infallible source of all religious truth, it is 
necessarily intolerant. The Syllabus condemns the 
two following propositions : " 77. In the present day, 
it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion 
shall be held as the only religion of the State, to the 
exclusion of all other modes of worship. 78. Whence 
it has been wisely provided by law, in some countries 
called Catholic, that persons coming to reside therein 
shall enjoy the public exercise of their own worship." 
The desire and aim of the Papacy is to establish the 
Roman Catholic religion in every country, to exclude 
every other form of worship and belief, and if neces- 
sary to impose its faith by force upon all men. The 
Syllabus denies that " Every man is free to embrace 
and profess the religion he shall believe true, guided 
by the light of reason." Religious liberty is toler- 
ated by the Papacy only where it can not be success- 
fully resisted. 

The Papacy has not relaxed in its bitterness toward 
Protestantism. Protestants are declared to be exposed 
to the pains of eternal damnation, and every prelate is 
sworn to oppose them. The papal bull In Coena 
Domini clearly sets forth the attitude of the Roman 
See toward heretics and infringers of its privileges. 
This bull was formerly read every year at Easter time, 
but in 1770, though its principles are still binding on 


the Papacy, its annual promulgation was discontinued 
from considerations of expediency. " In the name of 
God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and by 
the authority of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, 
and by our own, we excommunicate and anathematize 
all Hussites, Wyclifites, Lutherans, Zwinglians, Calvin- 
ists, Huguenots, Anabaptists, and other apostates from 
the faith ; and all other heretics, by whatsoever name 
they are called or of whatsoever sect they may be. 
And also their adherents, receivers, favorers, and gen- 
erally any defenders of them ; with all who, without our 
authority or that of the Apostolic See, knowingly read 
or retain, or in any way or from any cause, publicly 
or privately, or from any pretext, defend their books 
containing heresy or treating of religion ; as also schis- 
matics, and those who withdraw themselves, or recede 
obstinately from their obedience to us or the existing 
Roman pontiff." The Rambler^ a Catholic paper of 
London, is merely consistent and outspoken in the fol- 
lowing extract : " Religious liberty, in the sense of a 
liberty possessed by every man to choose his religion, 
is one of the most wicked delusions ever foisted upon 
this age by the father of all deceit. The very name of 
liberty — except in the sense of a permission to do cer- 
tain definite acts — ought to be banished from the do- 
main of religion. It is neither more nor less than a 


falsehood. No man has a right to choose his religion. 
None but an atheist can uphold the principles of relig- 
ious liberty. Shall I foster that damnable doctrine 
that Socinianism, and Calvinism, and Anglicanism, 
and Judaism, are not every one of them mortal sins, 
like murder and adultery ? Shall I hold out hopes to 
my erring Protestant brother that I will not meddle 
with his creed if he will not meddle with mine? 
Shall I tempt him to forget that he has no more right 
to his religious views than he has to my purse, to my 
house, or to my life-blood? No, Catholicism is the 
most intolerant of creeds. It is intolerance itself; for it 
is truth itself"* Roman Catholics in this country have 
predicted that men now living would see the majority 
of the people of the United States papists ; that Cath- 
olicism is destined to become the State religion; and 
that plans are in operation for gaining a complete vic- 
tory over Protestantism. 

3. The Papacy does not tolerate intellectual free- 
dom. In his function as universal teacher, the Pope 
claims authority over the intellects of men. In an al- 
locution condemning the Christian League, an organi- 
zation for the circulation of the Scriptures in Italy, 
Gregory XVI. speaks as follows: "Accordingly it is 
your duty to remove from the hands of the faithful 
* Our Country, p. 48. 


Bibles translated into the vulgar tongue, such as have 
been published contrary to the decrees of the Roman 
pontiffs, and all other prohibited or dangerous books, 
and to see that the faithful themselves by your admoni- 
tions and authority may learn what kind of food they 
should consider wholesome^ and what noxious and 

In an allocution in 1862, Pius IX. urges the same 
duty still more vigorously. "You know, in short, 
that whatever is of the last importance is at stake 
when there is a question of our most holy belief of the 
Catholic Church. . . . Thus, as much as in you lies, 
apply yourselves to withdrawing the faithful from the 
contagion of so terrible a scourge ; remove from their 
hands and from their sight wicked books and jour- 
nals; impress on their hearts assiduously the precepts 
of our august religion; instruct them, warn them, ex- 
hort them to fly from those teachers of iniquity as 
they would fly from the presence of a serpent."* 

The contagion referred to, which is to be shunned 
as " the presence of a serpent," is Protestant literature. 
The text-books in Roman Catholic schools are muti- 
lated and falsified in the interests of Rome. In Fredet's 
" Modem History," for example, we find the following 
in reference to the Massacre of St. Bartholomew: 
* De Montor, Roman Pontiffs. Vol. II. 


" It is certain that religion had nothing to do with the 
massacre. . . . The only share which bishops, priests, 
and monks took in it was to save as many as they 
could of the Protestants. ... It is objected that Pope 
Gregory XIII. publicly returned thanks to God on 
that occasion; but . . . the Pope rejoiced for the 
preservation of the French monarch and his king- 
dom." The prohibitory catalogue of the Papacy in- 
cludes the ablest works of modern times in leading 
departments of learning. In it we find such names as 
Hallam, Hume, Gibbon, Mosheim, Sismondi, Ranke, 
Kant, Locke, Bacon, Des Cartes, Whately, Cousin, 
Montesquieu, Milton, and the Reformers. In the in- 
terests of its domination, the Papacy undertakes to 
keep the mind in bondage, to prevent free investiga- 
tion, and to shut out the light. The Bible is practi- 
cally prohibited. The Council of Trent passed ten 
rules in relation to prohibited books, which rules were 
approved by Pius IV. in a bull issued in 1564. The 
fourth rule is as follows : " Inasmuch as it is mani- 
fest from experience, that if the Holy Bible, translated 
into the vulgar tongue, be indiscriminately allowed to 
every one, the temerity of men will cause more evil 
than good to arise from it, it is, on this point, referred 
to the judgment of the bishops or inquisitors, who 
may, by the advice of the priest or confessor, permit 


the reading of the Bible translated into the vulgar 
tongue by Catholic authors, to those persons whose 
feith and piety, they apprehend, will be augmented, 
and not injured by it; and this permission they must 
have in writing. But if any one shall have the pre- 
sumpton to read or possess it without such written 
permission, he shall not receive absolution until he 
have first delivered up such Bible to the ordinary. 
Booksellers, however, who shall sell, or otherwise dis- 
pose of Bibles in the vulgar tongue, to any person not 
having such permission, shall forfeit the value of the 
books, to be applied by the bishop to some pious use, 
and be subjected by the bishop to such other penal- 
ties as the bishop shall judge proper, according to the 
quality of the oflfense."* 

4. It forms an important part of the papal scheme 
to have control of the young. To let the children of 
the Church grow up out of the circle of its influence, 
to imbibe instruction from prohibited books and here- 
tical teachers, to hear history impartially discussed, 
would be dangerous to papal supremacy. At all haz- 
ards, therefore, the Papacy is bound to keep control of 
the education of its children. It denies the right of 
the State to take charge of education. The Syllabus 
already quoted, condemns the following propositions : 
♦Smets. Concilii Tridentini. 


" 47. The best theory of civil society requires that pop- 
ular schools open to children of all classes and, gener- 
ally, all public institutes intended for instruction in 
letters and philosophy, and for conducting the educa- 
tion of the young, should be freed from all ecclesias- 
tical authority, government, and interference, and 
should be fully subject to the civil and political power, 
in conformity with the will of rulers and the prevalent 
opinions of the age. 48. The system of instructing 
youth, which consists in separating it from the Cath- 
olic faith and from the power of the Church, and in 
teaching exclusively, or at least primarily, the knowl- 
edge of natural things and the earthly ends of social 
life alone, may be approved by Catholics." The feeling 
and purpose of the Papacy are here clearly indicated. 
Religious instruction, by which is meant a training in 
the peculiar doctrines of Romanism, is to be the basis 
or principal element in education. The schools are to 
be under ecclesiastical jurisdiction, which includes 
the selection of text-books and the appointment of 
teachers. In the presence of this overriding claim, the 
State has nothing to do with the education of its future 

The attitude of the Papacy towards our public 
school system was clearly and forcibly presented by 
the Rev. F. T. McCarthy, S. J., in a lecture delivered 


in Boston in December, 1887. He stated emphatically 
that he was not giving his individual opinion, but that of 
the Roman Catholic Church — a fact that is evident not 
only from the " Syllabus of Errors," but also from the 
fundamental principles of the Papacy. " The State," 
said Mr. McCarthy, " has no right to teach, no right to 
educate. When the State steps in and assumes the 
work of the teacher, then there is the invasion of the 
individual rights, of the domestic rights, of the rights 
of the Church, and of divine rights. There are no 
circumstances under which the State is allowed to 
teach. The Catholic Church teaches that if Catholics 
have other schools to send their children to, where 
they can receive a fitting education, and they send their 
children to godless schools, . . . they are guilty of 
mortal sin. We cannot allow this state of things [the 
public school system] to go on, without imperilling 
the salvation of your children and your own salvation." 
The Papacy is at open war with the public schools of 
our country. 

The policy adopted by the Church is very simple. 
The third Plenary Council of American bishops, held 
in Baltimore in 1884, outlined it as follows: "Two 
objects then, dear brethren, we have in view: to mul- 
tiply our schools, and to perfect them. We must 
multiply them till every Catholic child in the land 


shall have within its reach the means of education , , , 
Pastors and parents should not rest till this defect be 
remedied. No parish is complete till it have schools 
adequate to the needs of its children, and the pastor 
and people of such a parish should feel that they have 
not accomplished their entire duty until this want is 
supplied." Active steps are being taken to carry out 
this policy. The priest who has the ability to estab- 
lish such a school, and yet fails to do it, thereby gives 
sufficient ground for his removal. 

The principal means employed in undermining our 
school system is the Roman Catholic vote. There 
were in the United States in 1883 seventy-two Roman 
bishops, 6,546 priests, and 6,832,000 laymen. Not only 
in ecclesiastical, but also in political matters, they are 
obedient to the Pope. This is a tremendous power to 
rest in the hands of a shrewd and aggressive foreigner; 
and as recent events show, it is being skilfully used to 
build up the Roman Church. Votes are traded for 
favors and money. In the days of the notorious 
Tweed, several hundred thousand dollars were appro- 
priated to the support of Catholic parochial schools in 
New York. There are at present large Roman Cath- 
olic institutions in New York City — the House of the 
Sisters of Mercy in 8ist street, the Foundling Asylum 
of the Sisters of Charity in 68th street, and the Cath- 


olic Protectory in Westchester — that are supported by 
the city treasury at a yearly expense of more than half 
a million dollars. The two former institutions are built 
upon blocks of ground worth hundreds of thousands 
of dollars each, that were given by the city through 
the favor of the Tammany ring. * These gifts were 
made in payment for political influence. " The author- 
ities of New York City," says the Rev. Dr. Strong in 
" Our Country," " during the eleven years preceding 
1880, gave the Roman Church real estate valued at 
1^3.500,000, and money to the amount of 1^5,827,47 1 ; 
this in exchange for Romish votes, and every cent of 
it paid in violation of law." This illustrates the papal 
method. The same bargaining is going on in other 
cities ; and in Poughkeepsie and New Haven a division 
of the public school fund has been secured. 

5. Yet the Papacy is not favorable to the education ot 
the masses. It seeks above all things absolute obedi- 
ence on the part of its adherents. Intelligence among 
the laity is recognized as a dangerous possession; 
for it ministers to their independence in thinking, and 
makes them more critical of the teaching imposed 
upon them by priestly authority. Any activity dis- 
played by the Papacy in popular education is forced by 

* The New Know-Nothingism and the Old, by the Rev. Dr. 
McGlynn, in North American Review, August, 1887. 


the existence of Protestant schools. The establishment 
of parish schools giving an education worth the name, 
is a measure of self-defense. The Jesuits, with all their 
lauded activity in education, never had the intellectual 
elevation of the masses at heart. With them educa- 
tion was a means of combating Protestantism, and of 
begetting a bigoted attachment to the Roman Church. 
Wherever the Papacy has had full control of educa- 
tion, the masses have been brought up in ignorance. 
It is a Jesuit maxim that " A few should be well edu- 
cated ; the people should be led. Reading and writ- 
ing are enough for them." When Victor Emmanuel 
took possession of the Papal States in 1870, only five 
per cent, of the population could read and write. In 
thrift and intelligence Catholic countries do not com- 
pare favorably with Protestant countries. Macaulay's 
judgment on this point is as just as it is positive. " Dur- 
ing the last three centuries, to stunt the growth of the 
human mind has been the chief object of the Church 
of Rome. Throughout Christendom, whatever ad- 
vance has been made in knowlege, in freedom, in 
wealth, and in the arts of life, has been made in spite 
of her, and has everywhere been in inverse proportion 
to her power. The loveliest and most fertile provinces 
of Europe have, under her rule, been sunk in poverty, 
in political servitude, and in intellectual torpor, while 


Protestant countries, once proverbiarl for sterility and 
barbarism, have been turned by skill and industry into 
gardens, and can boast of a long list of heroes and 
statesmen, philosophers and poets." * 

From the preceding discussion we may easily de- 
duce the line of action that is necessary to protect our 
institutions, particularly our public school system, 
against papal aggression. 

1. We should carefully observe the insidious move- 
ments of the Papacy. 

2. Recognizing the separation of Church and State 
wisely made by the Constitution, we should nowhere 
tolerate sectarian legislation. 

3. Maintaining the right of the State to educate its 
citizens, we should forbid the appropriation of any 
pubHc funds to sectarian schools. 

4. All public school offices should be filled with 
recognized friends of popular education. 

5. The rights of conscience should be maintained 
and defended by the State. 

* History of England, Chap. I., where the striking contrast 
between Protestant and Roman Catholic countries is graohi- 
caily presented. 



THE word Protestant originated under circumstan- 
ces that formed a crisis in history. At the im- 
perial Diet of Spires in 1529, the Roman Catholic 
party succeeded in passing a decree that restored the 
celebration of the mass wherever it had been abolished, 
excluded from the pulpit every preacher that did not 
recognize transubstantiation in the sacrament, estab- 
lished a rigid censorship of books, and forbade any 
effort to promulgate the principles of the Reformation. 
The execution of the decree would have brought the 
reformatory movement to a speedy termination. 
Against this decree, which had the sanction of the 
Pope and of the emperor Charles V., the evangelical 
princes at the Diet drew up a formal protest in which 
they said: "We are resolved, with the grace of God, 
to maintain the pure and exclusive preaching of his 
only Word, such as it is contained in the biblical books 
of the Old and New Testament, without adding any- 
thing thereto that may be contrary to it. This Word 
is the only truth ; it is the sure rule of all doctrine and 


of all life, and can never fail nor deceive us. He who 
builds on this foundation shall stand against all the 
powers of hell, while all the human vanities that are 
set up against it shall fall before the face of God." 
This protest, from which the appellation Protestant is 
derived, involves, as we shall see, principles of deep 

The same principles were announced at an earlier 
date, under circumstances no less important and impos- 
ing. In 1 5 2 1 Luther was summoned before the im- 
perial Diet of Worms to answer the charge of heresy. 
It was a magnificent assembly presided over by 
Charles V. himself Luther acknowleged himself the 
author of a number of books, the titles of which had 
been read. " You are required," said the speaker of 
the Diet, " to give a clear and precise answer. Will 
you, or will you not, retract ?" The great Reformer 
replied : " Since your imperial Majesty and your high- 
nesses ask me for a short and plain answer, I will give 
you one without horns or teeth. Except I can be 
convinced by Holy Scripture, or by clear and indispu- 
table reasons from other sources (for I cannot defer 
simply to the Pope or to Councils, since it is clear that 
they have often erred), I neither can nor will retract 
anything. As it has been found impossible to refute 
the proofs I have quoted, my conscience is a prisoner 


to God's Word ; and no one can be compelled to act 
against his conscience. Here I stand; I can not do 
otherwise. God help me, Amen !" In this declaration, 
as in the protest at the Diet of Spires, the principle of 
secular and ecclesiastical authority in matters of faith 
is rejected. The appeal is made from the Pope and 
the emperor to the Word of God, or to clear and con- 
vincing reason. With his conscience enlightened by 
Holy Scripture, the individual man asserts his spiritual 
independence, and his immediate responsibility to God 

The principle of personal liberty, as announced by 
Luther and the other leading Reformers, has been mis- 
understood. It has been charged by papal writers 
that the word Protestant signifies resistance to the 
emperor and the Pope, or to all lawfully constituted 
authority. Nothing could be farther from the truth. 
Luther and his coadjutors simply returned to the 
scriptural principle that in matters of faith we should 
obey God rather than man. The protest at Spires was 
not against authority, but against a usurpation of au- 
thority that undertook to tyrannize over the Christian 
conscience. The principle of the Reformers was not 
absolute liberty to do as we please — a doctrine that 
issues in social and ecclesiastical anarchy ; it was free- 
dom to obey the dictates of a conscience illumined by 


the Word of God. This freedom, instead of leading 
to confusion, conduces to order. The Scriptures be- 
come its law ; and in accordance with their teaching, 
every evil passion is restrained ; honor is rendered to 
every rightly constituted authority; and discord is 
banished by brotherly love. 

In the Protestant creeds that resulted from the Re- 
formation we find, along with many points of substan- 
tial agreement, a number of articles directly opposed 
to the distinctive tenets of the Romish faith. All the 
points of difference, however, may be reduced to three 
comprehensive and fundamental principles, the wide- 
reaching significance of which can hardly be exag- 
gerated. They are the fundamental principles of Pro- 
testantism, and may be stated as follows: i. The 
Holy Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament 
are the only rule of faith and practice in matters of re- 
ligion. 2. Man is justified by faith alone; and 3. All 
believers become kings and priests unto God. These 
principles, when taken in their full significance, will 
be found to provide a firm basis and lasting impulse 
for popular education. 

I. The Scriptures as Rule of Faith. — In the " Book 
of Concord," composed of the different Lutheran con- 
fessional writings, it is said : " The Holy Scriptures 
alone remain the only judge, rule, and standard, ac- 


cording to which, as the only test-stone, all dogmas 
should and must be discerned and judged, as to 
whether they be good or evil, right or wrong." The 
"Thirty-nine Articles" of the Church of England say: 
"Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to 
salvation ; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor 
may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any 
man, that it should be believed as an article of the 
Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salva- 
tion." The Bible was the weapon that the Reformers 
used against the Papacy. By it they judged papal 
traditions, and the decrees of Councils. In its light 
they discovered and condemned errors in the Roman 
Church; and before its tribunal they summoned the 
Pope himself. In a word, they were able to restore to 
the world the Christianity of the New Testament, and 
to justify the name of evangelical which they as- 

The conception of the Church was changed. It 
was held to be the body of true believers, who are 
united by faith to Christ as the head. The supremacy 
of the Pope was rejected and his infallibility denied. 
The sacrifice of the mass was discarded because it is 
said in Heb. x. lo (and elsewhere substantially), that 
" We are sanctified through the offering of the body 
of Christ once for all." Preaching as the divinely ap- 


pointed means of public instruction in religious truth, 
was made prominent as in the Apostolic Church. 
The celibacy of the clergy was rejected not only 
because of the scandal attending it, but also because, 
as the Augsburg Confession says, " No law of man, 
no vow, can take away the commandment of God and 
his ordinance." The spiritual and secular powers, in 
opposition to the preposterous claims of the Papacy, 
were distinctly separated. Both powers were insti- 
tuted of God, and each in its sphere should be re- 
spected and honored. The ecclesiastical power was 
expressly forbidden to interfere with secular govern- 
ment.* If the Protestant countries of Europe placed 
the secular power over the Church, their action re- 
sulted, not from their primary principles, but from 
the necessities of the times. The interposition of the 
secular authority was necessary to give unity to the 
Protestant movement. In America Protestant prin- 
ciples have found their full expression in the complete 
separation of Church and State. Each is recognized 
as of divine origin, but with different functions; and 
while they exist side by side in harmony, neither tres- 
passes on the sphere of the other. 

II. Justification by Faith. — Luther attached great 
importance to this doctrine as the central truth of the 

* Augsburg Confession, Art. XXVIII, 


Reformation. In the Smalcald Articles he says: 
"We must be sure concerning this doctrine, and not 
doubt; for otherwise all is lost, and the Pope and the 
devil and all things against us gain the victory." 

The Reformation worked itself out in Luther before 
he gave its principles to the world. In his religious 
experience, the truth of justification by faith stands 
pre-eminent. Though in the convent at Erfurt he had 
rigidly conformed to all the requirements of the Ro- 
man Church, he had not been able to find perfect 
peace. The consciousness of sin weighed upon his 
mind, and Christ was dreaded as an exacting judge. 
He longed for sweet communion with God. In 15 ii 
he went to Rome on a mission for the Augustinian 
brotherhood. For the sake of obtaining an indulgence 
promised by the Pope, he began one day to climb 
Pilate's staircase on his knees. While performing this 
supposed meritorious act, the declaration of the Scrip- 
tures (which he had long been studying) suddenly 
broke upon his mind in full-orbed splendor, " The just 
shall live by faith." He arose at once from his knees; 
and in his joy, as he tells us, he " felt like a new man, 
and entered through the open doors into the very par- 
adise of God." 

While the Roman system interposes a mediating 
priesthood between God and man, and makes the as- 


surance of salvation an official communication, the 
Protestant doctrine of justification brings the soul into 
immediate relation with God. Through the Gospel, 
the heart is opened to believe and love God ; there is 
a consciousness of the forgiveness of sin ; there is a 
new joy in the restoration of the soul to its Creator ; 
and there is a satisfying of all the deepest needs and 
longings of the religious nature. In this transforming 
experience the Christian finds his assurance. The 
Gospel is no longer an external matter; it has been 
embodied in his thought and feeling. As a result, a 
Christian consciousness has been formed. It is this 
consciousness that gives the necessary qualifications to 
interpret the Scriptures in their deepest significance. 
It does not need an infallible ecclesiastic to authorize 
an interpretation. The soul has been brought into 
harmony with the Gospel ; it has become the abode of 
the Holy Spirit ; it immediately discerns and appro- 
priates the truth according to its needs. 

III. The Priesthood of Believers. — As we have 
seen, the Reformers taught that by faith we have im- 
mediate access to God. Needing the intervention of 
no special sacerdotal class, such as existed under the 
Papacy or the Jewish dispensation, all Christians have 
now the privileges that once pertained to the hierar- 
chical office. They approach trustfully into the pres- 


ence of God ; they offer him the incense of praise and 
thanksgiving; they intercede for themselves and all 
mankind. In his treatise "On Christian Liberty," 
Luther presents this truth very forcibly: "Nor are 
we only kings and the freest of all men, but also 
priests forever, a dignity far higher than kingship, 
because by that priesthood we are worthy to appear 
before God, to pray for others, and to teach one an- 
other mutually the things which are of God. For 
these are the duties of priests, and they can not pos- 
sibly be permitted to any unbeliever. Christ has ob- 
tained for us this favor, if we believe in Him, that, just 
as we are his brethren and co-heirs and fellow-kings 
with Him, so we should be also fellow-priests with 
Him, and venture with confidence, through the spirit 
of faith, to come into the presence of God, and cry 
* Abba, Father !' and to pray for one another, and to 
do all things which we see done and figured in the 
visible and corporal office of priesthood." 

This doctrine of the universal priesthood of believ- 
ers bestows upon them great honor. At one blow it 
breaks the bondage of the laity as it exists under the 
Papacy. They are bound in their religious life by no 
external human authority. They are freemen in 
Christ In this independent position, life is dignified 
by the weight of grave responsibilities. Every one 


must watch over his own religious faith and practice. 
While giving due honor to their religious teachers, 
Christians are not bound to an unquestioning sub- 
mission, but test all instruction by the Word of God. 

The three fundamental principles of Protestantism, 
which we have been considering, necessitate and en- 
courage popular education in various ways. 

I. The Bible is placed in the hands of the laity. It 
is lookfcd upon not as a volume unsafe because of its 
obscurities, but as a treasure invaluable because of its 
divine message. Yet it is not violently severed from 
the teaching of the Church in past ages. The Refor- 
mation did not give to the world what was absolutely 
new ; it was essentially a restoration of truth that had 
long been obscured or forgotten. With the Scriptures 
as guide the Reformers traversed the preceding centur- 
ies and sought out an evangelical Christianity. The 
three oecumenical creeds were incorporated in the Pro- 
testant confessions of faith ; and wherever the Church 
fathers were found to be evangelical, they were gladly 
quoted as authorities. 

This use of the Bible as the ultimate source of relig- 
ious truth rendered general education a necessity — a 
fact that has been clearly and forcibly presented by a 
distinguished French scholar: "In rendering man re- 
sponsible for his faith, and in placing the source of that 


feith in Holy Scripture, the Reformation contracted 
the obligation of placing every one in a condition to 
save himself by reading and studying the Bible. In- 
struction became then the first of the duties of charity ; 
and all who had charge of souls, from the father of a 
family to the magistrates of cities and to the sovereign 
of the State, were called upon, in the name of their 
own salvation, and each according to the measure of 
his responsibility, to favor popular education. Thus 
Protestantism . . . placed in the service of education 
the most effective stimulus and the most powerful in- 
terest that can be brought to bear upon men." * 

The Bible itself, both as a religious manual and as a 
literary work, is a potent instrument of culture. No 
other book is half so useful in leading man towards his 
goal as a moral and religious being. It surrounds life 
with an atmosphere of purity, love, and truth. It 
gives comfort in sorrow ; cheers with precious prom- 
ises; ministers strength in hours of weakness and 
temptation; restrains evil tendencies; fills our social 
relations with affection; explains the universe; and 
unites us to God. As Burns has beautifully shown in 
his " Cotter's Saturday Night," it glorifies a humble, 
laboring life. From a literary point of view the Bible 

 Michel Br^al, Quelques Mots sur 1* Instruction Publique en 


is a remarkable book. Nearly every department of 
literature is represented in its pages. It contains the 
most important of all history. Without its opening 
chapters — interpret them as we may — what a riddle 
the world and human life would be ! In the story of 
the Chosen People we see the hand of God at work in 
history. The civil regulations of the ancient Jews are 
models of wisdom and justice. Abraham, Moses, 
David, and Paul are heroes, whose lives are grand in 
faith, wisdom, and achievement. In Proverbs and Ec- 
clesiastes there is a great store of practical truth. In 
the Psalms and the Prophets we find not only the fin* 
est religious poetry in all literature, but also many 
passages of astonishing eloquence and power. Let 
the Bible in its moral, religious, and literary character 
be taken into the life of a man, and the result is a great 
uplifting in culture. 

2. The duties of secular government and of all 
social relations have the stigma of worldliness taken 
away. The statements of the sixteenth article of the 
Augsburg Confession are remarkable: "Concerning 
civil affairs, they teach that such civil ordinances as 
are lawful, are good works of God; that Christians 
may lawfully bear civil office, sit in judgments, deter- 
mine matters by the imperial laws and other laws in 
present force, appoint just punishments, engage in just 


war, act as soldiers, make legal bargains and contracts, 
hold property, take an oath when magistrates require 

it, marry a wife, or be given in marriage They 

condemn also those that place the perfection of the 
Gospel, not in the fear of God, and in faith, but in for- 
saking civil offices, inasmuch as the Gospel teacheth 
an everlasting righteousness of the heart." 

The principles of Protestantism do not unduly de- 
preciate the present life in the interests of the life to 
come. Our mission here is not to fast, to make pil- 
grimages, and to withdraw into monasteries, but faith- 
fully to perform the duties that come to us in every 
relation of life. Religion is not a thing apart from 
our daily labors, but a spirit sanctifying our whole 
life, and ennobling the lowliest service. Domestic in- 
stitutions are highly honored as the divine ideal. 
Luther speaks often and tenderly of the marriage 
relation; and with his beloved Catharine, he estab- 
lished a model home, filled with affection and hap- 

To fulfil the duties of this rich human life, as con- 
templated by Protestantism, intelligence is necessary. 
No class should be left in ignorance. Education is 
an interest of the State no less than of the Church. 
Its aim should be to fit the young for useful living in 
every relation. " Even if there were no soul," says 


Luther, " and men did not need schools and the lan- 
guages for the sake of Christianity and the Scriptures, 
still, for the establishment of the best schools every- 
where, both for boys and girls, this consideration is of 
itself sufficient, namely, that society, for the mainten- 
ance of civil order and the proper regulation of the 
household, needs accomplished and well-trained men 
and women. Now such men are to come from boys, 
and such women from girls ; hence it is necessary that 
boys and girls be properly taught and brought up." * 
And again : " I maintain that the civil authorities are 
under obligation to compel the people to send their 
children to school. . . If the government can compel 
such citizens as are fit for military service to bear spear 
and rifle, to mount ramparts, and perform other mar- 
tial duties in time of war ; how much more has it a 
right to compel the people to send their children to 
school, because in this case we are warring with the 
devil, whose object it is secretly to exhaust our cities 
and principalities of their strong men, to destroy the 
kernel and leave a shell of ignorant and helpless peo- 
ple, whom he can sport and juggle with at pleasure."! 
3. In Protestantism, Nature is restored to its rights. 
Under Romanism, which unduly magnifies a system of 

* Address to the Mayors and Aldermen of the German Cities, 
t Sermon on the Duty of Sending Children to School. 


dogmas, and inculcates a one-sided religious life, the 
physical universe is depreciated. Protestantism looks 
upon the present world as a field for serving God in 
the exercise of our native powers and in the discharge 
of our natural duties. The wondrous beauty of nature 
is appreciated. Its phenomena are studied ; and the 
knowledge thus acquired is turned to account in the 
service of man. It is not an accident that the leaders 
of modern science have come from Protestant coun- 
tries. Protestantism encourages investigation, wel- 
comes discoveries, applies new ideas, and favors pro- 
gress. Luther was justified in saying, " We are at the 
dawn of a new era, for we are beginning to recover the 
knowlege of the external world that we had lost since 
the fall of Adam. . . We already recognize in the most 
delicate flower the wonders of divine goodness and 
the omnipotence of God." The barrenness of exclu- 
sively linguistic studies has been relieved by studies 
treating of various departments of Nature. The gain 
in this particular has been great. But a leading bene- 
fit is the new basis upon which education itself has 
been placed. A true science of education has been 
established, the principles of which are found, not 
in some theological tenet, but in human nature. The 
effort is made to develop the native physical, mental, 
and moral powers in the direction ot a perfect man- 


hood. The repressive and cruel discipline of the Mid- 
dle Ages has given place to a fostering and gentle 
training. The school-room is made attractive, and 
study pleasant ; the natural activity of children is util- 
ized, and their innate desire for knowlege is gratified. 
To use the strong language of Luther in the address 
already quoted, " Our schools are no longer a hell and 
purgatory, in which children are tortured over cases 
and tenses, and in which with much flogging, trem- 
bling, anguish, and wretchedness, they learn nothing." 
4. Influenced by their fundamental principles, the 
Reformers early began to labor for the establishment 
and improvement of schools. As early as 1524 Lu- 
ther made an appeal of marvelous energy to the au- 
thorities of the German cities in behalf of popular 
education. If we consider its pioneer character, in 
connection with its statement of principles, we must 
regard the address as the most important educational 
treatise ever written. Education remained through 
Luther's whole life a cherished interest, and he has 
treated of it in many sermons and letters. There is 
scarcely any phase of the subject that he did not 
touch upon, and everywhere he exhibited masterly 
penetration and judgment. "If we survey the peda- 
gogy of Luther in all its extent," says a distinguished 
German educator, "and imagine it fully realized in 


practice, what a splendid picture the schools and edu- 
cation of the sixteenth century would present ! We 
should have courses of study, text-books, teachers, 
methods, principles, and modes of discipline, schools 
and school regulations, that could serve as models for 
our own age."* The great need Luther saw during 
the visitation of the churches of Saxony led him in 
1529 to prepare his two catechisms for the instruction 
of the clergy and the laity. In 1534 he published his 
translation of the Bible, which had an extraordinary 
educational influence upon Germany. By his re- 
peated appeals in behalf of education, all Protestant 
Germany was aroused. In 1525 he was commis- 
sioned by the Duke of Mansfield to establish two 
schools in his native town Eisleben, one for primary 
and the other for secondary instruction. Both in the 
courses of study and in the methods of instruction, 
these schools served as models for many others. The 
forms of church government adopted by the various 
Protestant states and cities contain provisions for the 
establishment and management of schools. The 
"Saxony School Plan," originally prepared by Me- 
lancthon and revised by Luther in 1538, was exten- 
sively adopted. The current abuses of the schools in 
studies and discipline were pointed out. "In order 

 Dittes, Geschichte der Erziehung und des Unterrichts, 


that the young may be properly taught," says the 
Plan, " we have established this form : 

"i. The teachers shall see to it that the children are 
taught only Latin, not German or Hebrew as some 
have hitherto done, who have burdened their pupils 
with too many studies, which are not only useless but 
hurtful. . . . 

" 2. They shall not burden the children with many 
books, but in every way avoid a distracting multipli- 
city of studies. 

" 3. It is necessary that the children be divided into 

Except the neglect of the mother-tongue, the whole 
Plan, which extends to minute details, is admirable. 
In a few years the Protestant portion of Germany had 
greatly increased the number of schools, which, though 
defective in many particulars, were far superior to any 
that had previously existed. Melanchthon, Zwingli, 
Calvin, were all active in educational work. 

Protestant nations were the first to establish a sys- 
tem of public schools. Catholic nations imitated them 
only under the stress of political necessity, and then 
in opposition to papal teaching, which makes educa- 
tion an exclusive function of the Church. The coun- 
tries at present most distinguished for intelligence and 
freedom are Protestant. In so far as any nation, as 


France, Austria, or Italy, has freed itself from Ultra- 
montane domination, it has bestowed greater care 
upon the instruction of the people, and removed the 
stigma of illiteracy. When the Papacy, under the 
shock of the Reformation, began as a measure of self- 
defence to exercise more rigidly its repressive authority 
over the intellect of its adherents. Catholic nations 
gradually fell behind in the march of progress. At 
the opening of the sixteenth century, Italy was the 
centre of the new culture resulting from the revival of 
learning. A few decades later, Spain exhibited a brief 
period of literary bloom. But the strict censorship 
established by the Papacy and exercised through the 
Inquisition proved fatal to literary activity; and in the 
last three hundred years, as the result of their servile 
condition, Italy and Spain have produced scarcely a 
writer of international repute. The Augustan age of 
French literature under Louis XIV. is not to be attri- 
buted to the Papacy. Under the leadership of Bossuet 
the moderate Gallican type of Romanism was in the 
ascendency. The brilliant court of the king was the 
centre and stimulus of culture; and literature flour- 
ished, not because of Ultramontane Rome, but in spite 
of it. The case is different with Protestant nations. 
Their history exhibits progress in intelligence, pros- 
perity, and freedom. After the Reformation the centre 



of culture moved northward ; and the superiority of 
Protestant training was magnificently attested on the 
fields of Sadowa and Sedan, and in the ascendency of 
Prussia. The universities of northern Germany are 
foremost in learning. In England the brilliant era of 
Elizabeth was largely due to the literary activity and 
intellectual freedom brought about by the Reformation. 
In America, while Mexico has been weighed down by 
illiteracy and superstition, the United States have 
achieved distinction for the intelligence, freedom, and 
welfare of the people. The foundation of this remark- 
able progress was laid by the Puritans in 1647, when 
the General Court of the Massachusetts colony passed 
the following order: "It being one chief object of the 
old deluder Satan to keep men from the knowledge of 
the Scriptures, as in former times by keeping them in 
an unknown tongue, so in these latter times by per- 
suading from the use of tongues, that so at least the 
true sense and meaning of the original might be 
clouded by false glosses of saint-seeming deceivers; 
that learning may not be buried in the grave of our 
fathers in the Church and Commonwealth, the Lord 
assisting our endeavors, it is therefore ordered^ that 
every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath 
increased them to the number of fifty householders, 
shall then forthwith appoint one within their town to 


teach all such children as shall resort to him to write 
and read, &c. * Other colonies followed the example 
of Massachusetts ; and thus the popular education of 
this country sprang directly from Protestant principles. 
5. The principles of Protestantism concern man as 
an individual. This is their starting point. In har- 
mony with the Gospel, they place man in an inde- 
pendent position, and dignify him with the responsi- 
bility of ascertaining and performing his duty imme- 
diately in the sight of God. The ideal of life is a 
faithful discharge of every duty, both private and pub- 
lic, in the fear of God. Inasmuch as this ideal cannot 
be attained without intelligence, instruction becomes a 
necessity to the individual, and a duty to those en- 
trusted with the care of youth. It is different under 
Romanism, where the Church is the supreme object 
of concern. The supremacy of the Church — a 
thought lying at the basis of Roman Catholic educa- 
tion — is the chief factor in determining subjects of 
study and methods of instruction. According to the 
Catholic view, the principal end of education is, not 
to develop the native powers in the direction of an 
ideal manhood, but to make faithful and obedient 
members of the Church or subjects of the Pope. 
"The Catholic view does not recognize the individ- 

 Painter, History of Education, p. 312. 


ual's right to Christian education and instruction, and 
therefore it feels no obligation to provide for the cul- 
ture of all its members. The Church is the supreme 
object of life, and therefore, of culture ; the school 
and the home are hence only means to bring up the 
young for obedience and service in the Church. The 
individual is an object of ecclesiastical activity only so 
far as the Church has an interest in him for her own 
ends. This is indeed the strength and weakness of 
the Catholic system ; this the secret of Catholic ped- 
agogy before and since the Reformation — that every 
thing is a means for that one end ; the science that 
she encourages and teaches, and the ignorance she 
fosters and promotes, faith and superstition, culture 
and barbarism, the severest discipline that she exer- 
cises as well as the license that she tolerates, — omnia in 
majorem Dei^ i. e. ecclesice^ gloriam. To this ecclesi- 
astical Christianity the evangelical Christianity of the 
Reformation is opposed. Here the aim and end of 
all the activity of the Church is not the institution 
but the person^ not the system but the man ; not the 
glory of the external Church, but the salvation of 
the individual soul. The Reformation wishes noth- 
ing else than what Christianity itself wishes — that all 
be helped ^ that all come to the knowledge of the truth. 
Thus, at every point of the Protestant system of edu- 


cation, appears the endless worth of personality, but 
therewith the endless rights, as well as the endless 
obligations and responsibilities, of the human soul. 
As such every man has a right to be instructed in 
faith, to be brought up in Christian doctrine and 
life, and thereby be placed in a position to edify 
himself from the Word of God, and to become that 
which every man should become according to the 
purpose of God — a child of God, a citizen of the 
kingdom of God, an heir of life. But to this end 
he needs the education of his will, the awakening of 
his understanding, and the communication of that 
knowledge which is necessary for a fruitful hearing, 
reading, comprehension, and right application of the 
divine Word. Thus follows, from the Protestant 
doctrine of salvation, the right of every man to 
Christian education and instruction, and the corres- 
ponding duty of the Christian community to make 
the necessary provision therefor."* 

In view of this discussion, it clearly appears that 
in principle and in fact Protestantism is the mother 
of popular education and the friend of culture. 

* Schmid, Pedagog. Handbuch. 



FOR nearly a thousand years after the downfall ot 
Rome in 476, the ascetic spirit in religion, which 
George Eliot has strikingly characterized as "other- 
worldliness," exerted a powerful influence in Europe. 
It manifested itself in various forms of self-abnega- 
tion ; hermits withdrew into the wilderness to live in 
squalor, and monks shut themselves up in monas- 
teries under the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedi- 
ence. This ascetic tendency was a natural reaction 
against the sensuousness of heathenism. When the 
Church came to assert itself in opposition to heathen 
life, it gave undue prominence to our spiritual inter- 
ests. Science was sunk in theology, and education 
was stamped with a theological character that fettered 
it for ages. 

In studying the Middle Ages, we need to be on our 
guard against magnifying their defects. The dark ages J^V^ 
should not be made too dark. While ignorance pre- ^^^^ 
vailed in large measure^ was not universal. Thefeis ^^^ 
an education of the hand and will, as well as of the in- 



tellect ; and it often happened that men who could not 
read, were able to lead armies and govern kingdoms. 
Jt-was-an-age-ol^-action ; a formative period for happier 
ages ; a transitional era, in which Christianity and civ- 
ilization were being communicated to the future stand- 
ard-bearers of progress. It was the age of cathedrals 
— those miracles in stone; it saw the rise of great 
commercial centres, and of an influential middle class. 
The institution of chivalry brought forward ennobling 
ideals. Great modern languages assumed a literary 
character, and embodied a notable literature. In Ger- 
many we find an epic, the Nibelungenliedy that deserves 
to rank with the world's greatest masterpieces. A 
voluminous poetic literature was created. Scholars 
were not wanting ; Abelard, Anselm, Aquinas, Duns 
Scotus, were men of acute understanding and large 
attainments. The universities were founded, and fre- 
quented by armies of students. These _facts. in^ on- 
nection with numerous inventions and discoverieSj_arg_ 
inconsistent with an age of absolute darknessv^The 
educational institutions of the period will now be con- 
sidered in succession. 

I. Monastic Schools, — Under the impulse of asceti- 
cism, monasteries rapidly multiplied, and by the sev- 
enth century were scattered throughout all the coun- 
tries of Europe. The Benedictine order in particulai 



became large and influential. As long as they re- 
mained uncorrupted by wealth and power, the monas- 
teries were asylums for the oppressed ; missionary sta- 
tions for the conversion of the heathen ; repositories of 
learning ; the principal abodes of the arts and sciences. 
As the heathen schools had now disappeared, the 
monasteries engaged in educational work. The 
Church regarded education as one of its exclusive 
functions, and under its direction jniearlyall instruc- 
tion had an ecclesiastical character. The purely ^^ja^''^^ 
secular studies of the trivium — grammar, rhetoric, 
and dialectic — and of the quadrivium — music, arith- 
metic, geometry, and astronomy — were pursued 
chiefly in the interests of the Church. Latin, the 
language of the Church, was made the basis of in- 
struction, to the well-nigh universal neglect of the 
mother-tongue. The works of the Church fathers 
were read, though expurgated editions of the Latin 
classics were used. Logic was applied to theology, 
arithmetic extended to only a few simple rules, 
geometry consisted in scanty extracts from Euclid, 
astronomy was limited in most schools to the arrange- 
ment of the Church calendar, and music was confined 
to learning hymns. The pedagogy of the ninth 
century may be judged by the following extract from 
Rhabanus Maurus: "Arithmetic is important on 


account of the secrets contained in the numbers; the 
Scriptures also encourage its study, since they speak 
of numbers and measures. Geometry is necessary, 
because in Scripture circles of all kinds occur in the 
building of the ark, and Solomon's temple. Music 
and astronomy are required in connection with divine 
service, which can not be celebrated with dignity and 
decency without music, nor on fixed and definite days 
without astronomy." 

2. Cathedral and Parochial Schools. — Besides the 
convent or monastic schools, there were two other 
classes of schools that owed their origin to the 
Church during the Middle Ages — the cathedral and 
the parochial schools. The cathedral schools re- 
ceived their perfected organization in the eighth 
century. The priests connected with each cathedral 
Church were organized into a brotherhood, one of 
whose foremost duties was to establish and conduct 
schools. While these were designed chiefly for can- 
didates for the priesthood, they were yet open to 
others. The instruction embraced the seven liberal 
arts, as they were called, of the trivium and quadri- 
viuniy but the religious element was made still more 
prominent than in the convent schools. 

The parochial schools were established in the sepa- 
rate parishes, under the supervision of the priest 


They were designed to acquaint the young with the 
elements of Christian doctrine, to prepare them for 
intelligent participation in public worship, and espe- 
cially to introduce them into Church membership. 
Reading and writing did not usually form any part of 
the course of study, and their function was similar to 
that of the catechetical schools of the early Church. 
But " the majority of the clergy," says Neander, "who 
came in immediate contact with the people, possessed 
no other qualification for their office than a certain 
skill and expertness in performing the ceremonies of 
the Church. The liturgical element would thus of 
necessity tend continually to acquire an undue pre- 
dominance, suiting as it did the prevalent idea of the 
priesthood; while the didactic element — an element 
so important for promoting the religious knowledge 
which was so neglected among the people — would, on 
the other hand, retreat more and more into the back- 

3. Secular Education. — Secular education, which 
came into prominence in the latter half of the Middle 
Ages, took two directions : chivalry gave rise to what 
may be called knightly education, and the cities to 
burgher education. These secular tendencies were in 
part a reaction against the one-sided religious charac- 
ter of the ecclesiastical schools, and in part the natural 


product of peculiar social conditions. The despotic 
authority claimed by the hierarchy, in connection 
with its worldliness, excited distrust and resist- 
ance. The crusades, though at an almost incredible 
cost of life, contributed largely to the general ad- 
vancement of Europe. The field of knowledge was 
widened, and commerce, trade, and manufacture were 
quickened. Coming at last to a feeling of self-con- 
sciousness and independence, the knightly and the 
burgher classes in a measure emancipated themselves 
from ecclesiastical tutelage. 

Knightly education stood in sharp contrast with 
that of the Church. It attached importance to what 
the Church schools neglected and condemned. Phy- 
sical culture received great attention ; polished manners 
were carefully cultivated ; and a love of glory was con- 
stantly instilled. Women were held in worshipful re- 
gard as the embodiment of virtue. The native tongue 
was cultivated and made the medium of all literary 
productions. Nature, instead of being placed in an un- 
natural opposition to spiritual interests, inspired the 
noblest sentiments and the purest joys. The chief in- 
tellectual elements in knightly culture were music and 
poetry; and one of the richest literary treasures com- 
ing down to us from the Middle Ages, is the large 
collection of knightly poetry comprehended under the 
term minne-songs. 


With the growing importance of the commercial and 
artisan classes, there came the conscious need of an 
education adapted to the wants of practical life. Out 
of this need arose a class of schools which have borne 
different names, as town, burgher, or writing schools. 
In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, other 
practical studies — geography, history, and the mother- 
tongue — were pursued in a small way. Latin also was 
early introduced. Though the burgher schools were 
secular institutions in origin and aim, the clergy as the 
only authorized teachers claimed the right to control 
them. This claim, which was often resisted by the 
civil magistrates, gave rise to strife, in which some- 
times the one party, and sometimes the other, was vic- 
torious. Where the civil authorities had control, they 
appointed laymen as teachers, whose duties were pre- 
scribed by a contract. The principal teacher, who was 
engaged for a year, employed and paid his assistants. 
The salaries barely sufficed to procure the necessaries 
of life. 

Female education outside of the knightly order was 
generally neglected. Here and there in connection 
with nunneries a few women attained distinction by 
their learning, but these cases were exceptional. 
Among the knightly class, where women were held 
in high honor, great attention was paid to female 


culture. The young women were not only instructed 
in the feminine arts of sewing, knitting, embroidery, 
and house-keeping, but they were also given an in- 
tellectual training which in addition to reading, writ- 
ing, and the mother-tongue, often included an ex- 
tended acquaintance with Latin. 

4. The Universities. — The awakened intellect of 
Europe manifested itself most strikmgly toward the 
close of the Middle Ages in the founding of universi- 
ties. They arose independently of both Church and 
State. In the beginning they consisted of free asso- 
ciations of learned men and aspiring youths, who 
were held together alone by their mutual interest in 
knowledge. In this way the University of Bologna 
had its origin in the twelfth century for the study of 
law, and the University of Salerno for the study of 
medicine. A few years after its establishment, the 
University of Bologna numbered no less than 12,000 
students. In the twelfth century the cathedral school 
of Paris was enlarged into a university, and after- 
wards became the most celebrated seat of learning in 
Europe. At one time it was attended by more than 
20,000 students, who for the purpose of better gov- 
ernment were divided into separate bodies according 
to nationality. They had special halls called colleges, 
in which they lodged and boarded under official 


supervision. The professors were divided into the 
four faculties of philosophy, theology, medicine, and 
law, which have since been retained in universities, 
though the studies in each department have been 
greatly enlarged. 

Such were the various educational institutions in I 
operation at the opening of the sixteenth century. 
Naturally sharing in the prevailing rudeness of the 
time, they were exceedingly defective in studies, 
methods, and_d[ scipline . The pupils were passive 
under instruction. The teachers lectured, dictated, 

interpreted, and the learners listened and memorized. 
The principle of authority prevailed. It was decided, 
for example, that there were no spots in the sun, 
because Aristotle had nowhere made mention of the 
fact. What seemed to be spots were therefore re- 
garded as defects in the observer's glasses. There 
was but little intellectual freedom ; the teachers were 
bound by the authority of Aristotle and the Church, 
and the pupils by the authority of the teacher. Edu- 
cation did not aim at a development of all the facul- 
ties, but at a storing of the memory with certain facts 
of more or less importance in relation to the Church 
or practical life. In the universities, obscure and 
often trifling questions in philosophy and theology 
engaged the attention. 


The teachers corresponded in character to the 
meagre pay they received. Men not capable of mak- 
ing a living in any other way took to teaching. 
Though organized, according to the spirit of the time, 
in a guild, teachers commanded but little respect, and 
wandered from town to town in search of employ- 
ment. There were no school houses, and in many 
places no organized schools. After coming to terms 
with the town authorities, these wandering teachers 
proceeded to gather about them a body of pupils. 
Without learning or pedagogical training, they were 
unqualified to conduct well-regulated schools. The 
discipline was severe, and often cruel. It was an age 
when authority depended largely on physical force; 
and servile submission was exacted from the pupil, 
and bodily chastisement was the ordinary means of 
correction. " Frequently at the installation of teachers 
a ferule was presented them as a mark of their dig- 
nity. Even with adults this sort of punishment was 
not without example. At the University of Paris as 
late as the fifteenth century the students were 
scourged on the naked back, and in the cloister of St 
Gall it was the custom to bind offending monks to 
pillars, and after the removal of the outer garment to 
whip them. Even teachers, who were negligent in 
their office, had to submit to the same punishment"* 
 Strack, Geschichte des deutschen Schulwesens. 


The moral tone of the universities was low; brawls, 
outbreaks, and gross immorality were common. 

There were, however, a few penetrating minds, 
especially in the latter part of the Middle Ages, that 
perceived and pointed out, in some measure, the ex- 
isting defects in education. In their writings we find 
many a statement that would do credit to modern 
pedagogy. Anselm (born 1023), a distinguished 
theologian, did not wholly approve of the cruel dis- 
cipline in vogue. " In educating youth," he said, " we 
should learn a lesson from artists, who do not fashion 
their gold and silver images with blows alone, but 
they press and touch them lightly, and finally com- 
plete their work with gentleness." Gerson (died 
1429), chancellor of the University of Paris, in a work 
entitled " Bringing Children to Christ," recommended 
a mild discipline : " Above all, let the teacher try to 
be a father to his pupils. Let him never be angry 
with them. Let him always be simple in his instruc- 
tion, and relate to his pupils that which is wholesome 
and agreeable." 

In considering the favorable side of education dur- 
ing the Middle Ages, the Brethren of the Common 
Life, founded in the fourteenth century by Gerhard 
Groot, deserve especial mention. Without monastic 
vows, the members of this brotherhood led a life of 


purity, and labored with unselfish devotion for the 
good of others. They occupied themselves especially 
with the education of the poorer classes. Though the 
founder laid undue stress upon religious education, 
rejecting arithmetic, grammar, rhetoric, poetry, and 
geometry, the brotherhood afterwards departed from 
this narrowness, and included in their instruction a 
comprehensive course. Johannes Janssen, an able 
but partisan Roman Catholic writer, says : " In the 
schools of the brotherhood. Christian education was 
placed high above the mere acquisition of knowledge, 
and the practical religious culture of the youth, the 
nurture and confirmation of active piety, was consid- 
ered the chief object. All the instruction was pene- 
trated with a Christian spirit, and the pupil learned to 
regard religion as the most important human interest, 
and the foundation of all true culture. At the same 
time, a considerable amount of knowledge and a good 
method of study were imparted, and the pupil ac- 
quired an earnest love for literary and scientific activity. 
From all quarters, studious youth poured into their 
schools." * 

A notable and lamentable fact in the educational 
arrangements of the Middle Ages was the neglect of 
the common people. No general effort was made to 

♦Janssen, Das deutsche Volk 


reach and elevate them by education. The ecclesias- 
tical schools were designed chiefly for candidates for 
the priesthood ; the parochial schools fitted the young 
for Church membership; the burgher schools were in- 
tended for the commercial and artisan classes of the 
cities ; knightly education gave a training for chivalry. 
Thus the laboring classes were left to toil on in ignor- 
ance and want; they remained in a dependent and ser- 
vile condition, their lives unillumined by intellectual 
pleasures. If here and there, as claimed by Roman 
Catholic writers, popular schools were established, 
they were too few in number and too weak in influ- 
ence to deserve more than passing mention. Popular 
education was the outgrowth of the Reformation. 

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the 
schools suffered from the corrupt condition of the 
Church. The ignorance of the clergy was reflected 
in the lives of their members. After visiting the 
churches and schools of Thuringia by order of the 
Elector John, Melancthon wrote : " What can be of- 
fered in justification, that these poor people have 
hitherto been left in such great ignorance and stupid- 
ity? My heart bleeds when I regard this misery. 
Often when we have completed the visitation of a 
place, I go to one side and pour forth my distress in 
f«arj. And who would not mourn to see the faculties 


of man so utterly neglected, and that his soul, which 
is able to learn and grasp so much, does not even 
know anything of its Creator and Lord?" 

After the visitation of the churches of Saxony, in 
1528, Luther wrote in the preface to his "Small Cate- 
chism :" " The pitiable need that I recently witnessed, 
as visitor, has compelled me to prepare this catechism 
on Christian doctrine in such simple form. Alas! 
what a sad state of things I witnessed ! The common 
people, especially in the villages, are utterly ignorant 
of the Christian doctrine; even many pastors are 
wholly unqualified to teach ; and yet all are called 
Christians, are baptized, and partake of the sacrament, 
knowing neither the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, nor 
the Ten Commandments, and living and acting like 
irrational brutes. Nevertheless, now that the pre- 
cious Gospel has appeared again, they readily learn to 
abuse all freedom. O you bishops! how will you 
ever answer to Christ for having so shamefully neg- 
lected the people, and for not having exercised one 
moment your office that you might escape all evil ?" 

The following passage from Luther, in which he 
speaks of the improvements made in the universities 
by the Humanists and Reformers, throws light upon 
the higher education during the preceding period: 
** Almighty God has truly granted us Germans a gra- 


Clous visitation, and favored us with a golden oppor- 
tunity. We now have excellent and learned young 
men, adorned with every science and art, who, if they 
were employed, could be of great service as teachers. 
Is it not well known that a boy can now be so in- 
structed in three years, that at the age of fifteeen or 
eighteen he knows more than all the universities and 
convents have known heretofore ? Yea, what have men 
learned hitherto in the universities and monasteries, 
except to be asses and blockheads? Twenty, forty 
years it has been necessary to study, and yet one has 
learned neither Latin nor German. I say nothing 
of the shameful and vicious life in those institutions 
by which our worthy youth have been so lamentably 

* Letter to the Mayors and Aldermen in behalf of Christian 



IT is interesting to study the heroes of an epoch. 
While acted on by their surroundings — the state of 
society, the grade of culture, the views of the age — 
they become themselves the sources of a new creative 
power. Such heroes are at once an effect and a 
cause. Closely considered, they are found to exhibit, 
on the one hand, an immense receptivity, and, on the 
other, a large executive energy. They gather into 
themselves the thought and feeling of their age. 
They become the organs through which the spirit of 
the time finds utterance. They organize the move- 
ments that give satisfaction to the longings of the peo- 
ple. Speaking from the fulness of a rich inner experi- 
ence, or from the certitude of intuitive knowledge, 
they acquire the authority of seers. They may not 
at first understand the full significance of their opin- 
ions and acts ; but because they are loyal to the truth, 
they move forward in a straight line to the goal. 
Coming into conflict with existing institutions, they 
make enemies ; laying broad and deep the foundations 



of human progress, their lives are filled with labor 
and care: but undaunted by foes and indifferent to 
toil, they follow their course with unconquerable de- 
termination. Their lives may end at the block or on 
the cross, but they remain loyal to their mission, the 
creators of eras, and the benefactors of mankind. 
These truths are illustrated in Martin Luther, the 
great hero of the sixteenth century. The story of his 
life is the history of the Reformation. Above all 
other men he embodied in himself the noblest ten- 
dencies of his time; and with marvelous penetration 
separating truth from error, he began and directed the 
movement that marks a new era in human progress. 

Every nationality has its peculiar traits, which are 
inherited, to a greater or less degree, by each individ- 
ual. It is to Luther's honor that he was the most 
German of Germans — one in whom the noblest char- 
acteristics of his race, in unity with Christian faith, 
found complete expression. No manlier type of char- 
acter can be conceived. Fearless courage is united 
with tender sensibility. An indomitable spirit of in- 
dependence co-exists with loyal submission to recog- 
nized authority. Strong passions are kept under by 
a deep piety. A passion for exciting amusements is 
regulated by a sturdy sense of duty. Convivial and 
social gayety is balanced by profound reflection and 


deep moral earnestness. Luther was the manliest of 
men, the ideal German, the great prophet of his 

It has been said that God accomplishes his work 
by the weakest instrumentalities. In one sense this 
is true. The great providential men of our race have 
usually sprung from a lowly origin. Moses and 
David were shepherds; the apostles were fishermen; 
Christ was a carpenter; and Luther the son of a poor 
miner. But when these weak instrumentalities have 
once received the divinely appointed preparation for 
their work, they are no longer weak. They are 
changed into men of wide experience, keen insight, 
and steadfast character. The rude ore is transmuted 
into steel. The early career of the German Reformer 
was admirably adapted to fit him for his mission. 
He gradually rose from a lowly station to a position 
of commanding influence, and thus swept a wide 
range of human experience. The struggles of his 
early life imparted strength and solidity to his charac- 
ter. He was brought up in an atmosphere of deeply 
earnest but austere piety. His early school days at 
[ryX. Mansfield were darkened by harsh discipline and 
L>^\ crude methods of instruction. Destined to a learned 
career, he was sent, at the age of fourteen, to the 
school at Magdeburg conducted by the Brethren of 



the Common Life, and a year later he was removed to 
the school at Eisenach, presided over by John Tre- 
bonius, a learned Humanist and celebrated teacher. 
In both towns he had to beg for bread — a trial to 
which he pathetically referred in after life. " Do not 
despise the boys," he says, " who beg from door to 
door * a little bread for the love of God ' . . . I have 
myself been such a beggar pupil, and have eaten 
bread before houses, especially in the dear town of 
Eisenach."* Quick of comprehension and gifted in 
oratory, he excelled all his fellow-pupils. He com- 
pleted his studies, which included logic, rhetoric, 
physics, and the ancient languages, at the University 
of Erfurt, and broadened his culture still further by 
extensive reading, especially in the scholastic phil- 
osophy. His ability attracted attention. Once very 
sick and in fear of death, he was comforted by an 
aged priest: "My dear bachelor, do not despair; you 
will not die of this illness ; our God will yet make a 
great man of you, and you shall comfort many peo- 
ple. For our God permits those whom he loves and 
whom he wishes to use for great and good purposes 
to bear the holy cross ; and those that in this school 
of trial patiently submit, learn much." It was in the 
library of the University that Luther one day discov- 

* Sermon on the Duty of Sending Children to School. 


ered a Bible, a copy of which, though in his twentieth 
year, he had never seen before. 

Under the influence of deep religious convictions 
he entered the cloister at Erfurt, where he studied the 
Bible with such energy and success that he could at 
once refer to any passage in it. He passed through 
a profound religious experience, which issued at last 
in the doctrine of justification by faith. Called as 
professor to the newly founded University of Witten- 
berg, he lectured first on the dialectics and physics of 
Aristotle, and afterwards on the Scriptures. "This 
monk," the rector was accustomed to say, "will con- 
found all our doctors, establish new doctrines, and re- 
form the whole Roman church ; for he bases himself 
on the writings of the prophets and apostles, and is 
firmly planted on the Word of Jesus Christ." A 
journey to Rome opened Luther's eyes to the corrupt 
state of the Papacy, and an official visitation of the 
Augustine monasteries in Meissen and Thuringia re- 
vealed to him the sad condition of the Church at 

When in 15 17 he began the great work of the Re- 
formation by attacking Tetzel's sale of indulgences, he 
was not a novice, but a man of wide knowledge, clear 
convictions, and sturdy character. The fullness of 
time having come, he was ready, like another Moses, 


to deliver the people from bondage. Throughout his 
heroic struggle with the Papacy, he shows himself 
clear in vision, exhaustless in resources, and inflexible 
in purpose — the one Titanic form on the crowded 
canvas of the sixteenth century. 

A petty intriguer can never be great. The habit of 
scheming gradually undermines the character, and at 
last destroys the power to cherish a magnanimous 
purpose, and the steadfast will to execute it. No 
other man ever had less of the intriguing spirit than 
Luther. The great foundation of his character was 
honesty. The first necessity with him was truth, and 
in its power and ultimate triumph he had unwavering 
confidence. Through trying spiritual conflicts he had 
been brought to an understanding of the Gospel. Its 
truth was certified in the depths of his soul. Though 
it was in fundamental conflict with the existing eccles- 
iastical system, he proclaimed it with uncompromis- 
ing firmness. There was no indecision or duplicity in 
his character. Despising underhand methods, he did 
not seek to attain his ends by cajoling friends and flat- 
tering princes. He stood in striking contrast with 
Erasmus. The latter said : " As for me, I have no 
inclination to risk my life for the truth. We have not 
all strength for martyrdom; and if trouble come, I 
shall imitate Peter. Popes and emperors must settle 


creeds. If they settle them well, so much the better; 
if ill, I shall keep on the safe side." With a genuine 
martyr spirit, Luther forgot self in his devotion to 
truth; it was more to him than comfort, high position, 
or the favor of rulers ; and in defiance of threatened 
dungeon and stake, he held to his testimony. His 
conscience was a strong factor in his mental life; and 
indifference to truth or selfish prudence in the pres- 
ence of duty was regarded as a wrong to the Church, 
a blow at society, and an offense to God. 

Nothing great can be accomplished without faith. 
It enters largely into the character of every hero — 
faith in one's cause, in one's strength, in one's destiny. 
No other faith imparts such adamantine firmness to 
character as faith in God. Let a man profoundly be- 
lieve that the Almighty is his refuge and strength, and 
he becomes invincible. Luther was a man of pre- 
eminent faith. To him the presence and protection 
of God were realities. His faith shines forth in his 
writings and in his actions. His battle hymn of the 
Reformation expresses, not a poetic fancy, but a pro- 
found conviction : 

•• A mighty fortress is our God, 
A bulwark never failing ; 
Our helper he amid the Hood 
Of mortal ills prevailing. 


And though this world, with devils filled, 

Shall threaten to undo us, 
We will not fear, for God hath willed 

His truth to triumph through us." 

In the greatest trials and dangers, this faith gave 
him unfailing strength and joy. At an early stage of 
the Reformation, a papal legate came to Germany to 
silence the troublesome monk. Remonstrances, 
threats, entreaties, and even bribes were tried, but all 
in vain. Unless convinced of error, the Reformer re- 
mained immovable. He resisted the entreaties and 
defied the power of the sovereign of Christendom. 
At length the legate lost his temper, and exclaimed : 
" What do you think the Pope cares for the opinion of 
a German boor? The Pope's little finger is stronger 
than all Germany. Do you expect your princes to 
take up arms to defend you — a wretched worm like 
you ? I tell you no ! And where will you be then — 
where will you be then ?" Sustained by his sublime 
faith, Luther calmly replied : " Then, as now, in the 
hands of Almighty God." 

The two characteristics just considered — honesty 
and faith — naturally produce courage. If a man's 
conscience is clear and he gives his life to God, he 
can not be otherwise than courageous. He may not 
court danger, but when it comes in the line of duty, 
tie will not run away. Luther was among the bravest 


of men. The gigantic undertaking to reform the 
Church exhibits in itself heroic courage. A miner's 
son, a simple priest, a young professor, assumes to in- 
struct Christendom and overthrow the power of the 
Pope ! A timid man like Melanchthon and a prudent 
man like Erasmus would have been appalled at the 
idea. Luther bravely pursues his purpose — teaches 
the truth in the lecture-room, thunders it from the 
pulpit, scatters it abroad by the press. When the 
storm comes he does not hide. Summoned to the 
imperial Diet at Worms, he was warned that he 
would be foully dealt with. Feeling it his duty to go, 
he replied: "Though they should kindle a fire that 
should rise up to heaven between Wittenberg and 
Worms, yet, as I am cited, I would appear there and 
step into the mouth of behemoth, confess Christ, and 
leave the issue to him." How grandly he bore him- 
self before the Diet! The world has seen no sub- 
limer spectacle since Paul made Felix tremble, or the 
King of the Jews stood before the Roman governor. 

But Luther was not perfect — a fact that brings him 
nearer to ourselves. We can sympathize with Lessing, 
himself a great German, who after narrating an in- 
stance of the Reformer's intolerance, said : " I hold 
Luther in such reverence that I like to discover some 
faults in him. The traces of humanity that I find in 



him are to me as precious as the most dazzling per- 
fections." Luther's character was not free from vio- 
lence. His zeal for the truth, for the welfare of the 
Church, and for the prosperity of Germany, some- 
times rendered him terrific; and in his wrath, he 
scourged his opponents — the Pope, Henry VHI., 
and the "robber peasants" — with a scorpion lash. 
Nothing can surpass the fury with which he attacked 
the peasant insurgents : " I think there are no more 
devils in hell, but all have gone into the peasants. 
. . . Whoever is slain on the side of the magistrates 
is a veritable martyr of God, if he fights with a good 
conscience. Whoever perishes on the side of the 
peasants will burn everlastingly in hell, for he is a 
limb of the devil. . . . Such times have come that a 
prince can serve heaven better with bloodshed than 
others with prayer. . . . Therefore, dear lords, let him 
who can thrust, strike, and kill. If meanwhile 
you are slain, more blissful death you could not 
undergo."* After the issue of the Reformation had 
been fully joined, Luther came to look upon the 
Papacy as Anti-Christ. His anger is excited at the 
mention of the name, and he freely uses harsh and 
opprobrious terms. His strong feeling sometimes 
leads him to exaggerated statements. Yet his vio- 

*Schrift wider die rauberishen Bauern. 


lence came less from native asperity than from ardent 
zeal. It may generally be regarded as the righteous 
indignation of a mighty soul deeply moved. His 
furious writing against the peasants originated in a 
deep concern for the imperilled social order. He was 
conscious of his harshness and violence; and in the 
following passage he not only admirably characterizes 
his style, but skillfully suggests an apology : " I seek 
not to flatter or to deceive you, and I do not deceive 
myself when I say that I prefer your writings to my 
own. It is not Brentius whom I praise, but the Holy 
Ghost who is gentler and easier in you. Your words 
flow pure and limpid. My style, rude and unskillful, 
vomits forth a deluge, a chaos of words, boisterous 
and impetuous as a wrestler contending with a thous- 
and successive monsters; and if I may presume to 
compare small things with great, methinks there has 
been vouchsafed me a portion of the four-fold spirit 
of Elijah, rapid as the wind and devouring as fire, 
which roots up mountains and dashes rocks to pieces; 
and to you, on the contrary, the mild murmur of the 
Hght and refreshing breeze. I feel, however, comfort 
from the consideration that one common Father hath 
need, in his immense family, of each servant; of the 
haid against the hard, the rough against the rough, 
to be used as a sharp wedge against hard knots. To 


clear the air and fertililize the soil, the rain that falls 
and sinks like the dew is not enough — the thunder- 
storm is still required."* 

There is no other intellectual quality so valuable 
as what is called common sense. In its highest form, 
it involves great mental vigor, as exhibited in keen 
penetration, retentive memory, strong feeling, and 
powerful will. It requires not only native symmetry 
of the faculties, but also regularity in their operation. 
Genius generally implies something abnormal — the 
development of a single faculty at the expense of 
others. On its strong side it is independent and bril- 
liant, but often unsteady and eccentric. It is capable 
of high results in a single direction, but unfit to con- 
trol a multitude of interests. Luther was not a gen- 
ius; but no one since St. Paul has excelled him in 
massive intellectual strengh and soundness of judg- 
ment. He was distinguished as a student. In the 
writings of his mature years there is astounding vigor. 
The Reformation brought him innumerable perplex- 
ities; scholars, princes, and cities were constantly 
seeking his advice; the direction of the whole move- 
ment in Germany was largely in his hands: yet he 
seldom made a mistake. His mind was not metaphy- 
sical, but practical; he had no taste for fine-spun and 

♦Vorrede uber Joh. Brentii Auslegung des Propheten Amos. 


fruitless theories. At the university, like Lord Bacon 
a century later, he acquired a strong dislike for Aris- 
totle and the schoolmen. He could not endure their 
fallacious subtleties. He was made, not for specula- 
tion, but for action ; he constantly deals with the con- 
crete — not with theories, but with conditions and 
facts. His style abounds in particular rather than in 
general terms. He possessed in an extraordinary de- 
gree the power to get at the heart of a matter — to lay 
firm hold upon the essential truth, and to lop off 
error. His intellectual range was of the broadest. 
He treated upon a vast number of subjects, yet with 
such skill and judgment that his works are still a rich 
store-house of wisdom. An acquaintance with the 
large folios that embody the achievements of his mas- 
sive intellect, forces the conviction that Luther was 
the greatest of all Germans. 

It adds to our conception of Luther's greatness that 
all his mental life was not absorbed in oaken sturdi- 
ness. He was sensitive to aesthetic pleasures. His 
character is like a Swiss landscape, where blooming 
valleys and plashing streams soften the rugged grand- 
eur of snow-capped heights. He had a close sym- 
pathy with nature. At Coburg, where he stayed dur- 
ing the weighty proceedings of the Diet at Augsburg, 
he observed and playfully described a congress of jays 

LUTHER. 103 

and crows. When his old servant Lieberger was pre- 
paring some bird-snares, the Reformer drew up and 
presented to him, in behalf of the thrushes, blackbirds, 
finches a>nd jays, a formal protest against his cruelty. 
While confined at the Wartburg, he once went out 
hunting with some friends, but his sympathy was with 
the game. " Notwithstanding the pleasure the spec- 
tacle afforded me," he says, " the spiritual application 
gave me equal pain. For it represents the devil, who, 
with insidious art, through his ungodly servants, hunts 
innocent souls to death. ... At my instance we had 
preserved alive a little hare, and having enveloped 
it in the sleeve of my coat, I had gone away and left 
it for a short time ; meanwhile the hounds traced up 
the poor animal, bit it through the coat, and killed it. 
Thus do the Pope and Satan rave, so that they de- 
stroy rescued souls and render all my labors vain." 
Watching the swelling buds one April day, Luther 
exclaimed : " Praise be to God the Creator, who out 
of a dead world makes all alive again. See those 
shoots how they bourgeon and swell ! Image of the 
resurrection of the dead! Winter is death — summer 
is the resurrection. Between them lie spring and au- 
tumn as the period of uncertainty and change." In 
the following passage, what a fine appreciation of 
beauty! "If a man could make a single rose, we 


should give him an empire; yet roses, and other 
flowers no less beautiful, are scattered in profusion 
over the world, and no one regards them !" Luther 
was fond of music; he was a good singer and skillful 
player on the flute. Alone or in the company of 
friends he often sought recreation from his severe 
labors in the pleasures of vocal and instrumental 
music. He set a high value on its elevating influence. 
" Music," he said, " is one of the noblest and most de- 
lightful gifts of God; Satan is a great enemy to it; 
it is a good antidote against temptation and evil 
thoughts ; the devil does not stay where it is practiced." 
It is a question whether or not Luther was a poet 
A recent writer has said that the Reformer "was 
neither a philosopher nor poet." * The truth of this 
statement depends upon our conception of the poetic 
gift. If we hold with Macaulay that " no person can 
be a poet . . . without a certain unsoundness of 
mind," we must refuse that distinction to Luther. No 
one was ever sounder. Neither does he correspond to 
Shakespeare's beautiful description of the poetic char- 
acter : 

"As imagination bodies forth 
The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen 
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing 
A local habitation and a name." 

* Hosmer, History of German Literature. 


Luther did not possess the " fine frenzy" that reaches 
the highest lyrical achievement. His muse employed 
not a soft iEolian harp with its delicate and scarcely 
audible harmonies, but a great trumpet that called the 
nations to battle. He possessed an epic character — 
himself fitted to be an epic hero. He deliberately set 
himself to the task of supplying the German people 
with "spiritual songs, whereby," as he said, "the 
Word of God might be kept alive among the people 
by singing." For this task no one was better qualified. 
He had a profound experimental knowledge of the 
truth, an unrivalled mastery of the German tongue, 
and an unerring artistic sense. In all he composed or 
remodeled only thirty-seven hymns; but they were 
fashioned with such skill that they at once took hold 
of the popular heart. They were sung in the congre- 
gation, in the school, in the family, and became a 
powerful instrumentality for promoting the doctrines 
of the Gospel. Coleridge says that " Luther did as 
much for the Reformation by his hymns as by his 
translation of the Bible," and a Jesuit declares that 
" The hymns of Luther have killed more souls than 
his books and speeches." Energy of thought and 
feeling characterizes his hymns. No morbid sensibility 
in the presence of real or fancied ills, but a heroic 
faith and courage bent upon battle and victory. Thor 


himself could not have written with more overpower- 
ing energy. 

The domestic life of Luther is very pleasing. The 
home he established with his Katie, as he called her, 
was almost ideal. He spoke from his experience in 
saying that " When marriage is peaceful and agreeable, 
it is, next to a knowledge of God and his Word, the 
highest favor and blessing." While his wife was affec- 
tionate, sensible, and thrifty, he was tender, apprecia- 
tive, and magnanimous. Their household was well- 
ordered, cheerful, and hospitable. While exercising a 
salutary discipline, he was fond of children, and entered 
heartily into their sports. "The faith and life of 
children," he said, " are the best, for they have nothing 
but the Word. To this they cleave with simplicity, 
giving God the honor that he is true, being assured 
that he will do what he promises. But we old fools 
are subject to wretched, infernal doubt, which causes 
us first to dispute long about the Word, which the 
children receive simply in pure faith without disput- 
ing." His letter to his little son, written at Coburg, 
shows his deep sympathy with child nature. He was 
fond of companionship, and often had his friends with 
him at table. The meals were enlivened with music, 
humor, and profitable conversation. On such occa- 
sions Luther's ability appeared to great advantage, and 

LUTHER. 107 

his table-talk became famous for its freshness, orig- 
nality, and depth. How tenderly human the great 
Reformer appears at the death-bed of his little daughter 
Magdalena. The strong man bowed his head. " I love 
her very dearly," he said, " but, dear God, since it is 
thy will to take her hence, I am glad to know that she 
will be with thee." Then turning to the bed, " Dear 
Magdalena, my daughter, you would like to remain 
here with your father, but you also go willingly to 
yonder Father?" " Yes, dearest father," the little girl 
said, " as God wills it." Then the father said ; " Thou 
dear child, the spirit is willing, but the flesh weak." 
Turning away he said, " Oh, she is so dear to me ! If 
the flesh is so strong, what will not the spirit be?" 
As Magdalena was breathing her last, the father in 
tears fell on his knees, and prayed God to release her. 
Thus she died, going to sleep in her father's arms. 
When the child lay in her cofiin, Luther said, " Lena 
darling, how well it is with thee! Thou wilt rise 
again, and shine as a star — yes, as the sun — but the 
parting vexes me beyond measure. It is strange to 
know that she is certainly at peace, and that it is well 
with her, and yet be so sad !" 

The highest eloquence is not a trick of language; 
it can not be attained merely by a skillful marshaling 
of words. True eloquence has its basis in energy of 


thought and feeling. Luther was gifted, perhaps, 
beyond any other man of his time as an effective 
speaker. His wide range of knowledge and expe- 
rience rendered him exhaustless in ideas, while his 
intense fervor and depth of emotion sent forth his 
thoughts with tremendous force. His appearance was 
imposing, and his voice clear and sonorous. He was 
thoroughly natural; his diction was adapted to the 
thought ; and when he spoke, he poured all the energy 
of his nature through a facile medium into the minds 
of his hearers. He was the greatest preacher of his 
age. The glowing tribute of Melanchthon seems 
hardly too strong : " One is an interpreter ; another a 
logician; and still another an orator, affluent and 
beautiful in speech; but Luther is all in all — whatever 
he writes, whatever he utters, pierces to the soul, fixes 
itself like arrows in the heart — he is a miracle among 
men." In the proud independence of an intellectual 
and Christian freeman, he was unfettered by the tra- 
ditions of the past, and judged all questions for him- 
self He cared little for the opinions of the Church 
fathers; having tested their teaching by the Word of 
God, he had often found them wrong. Yet he was 
in the noblest sense conservative. He was not an 
iconoclast and fanatic. His work was not destruction, 
but reformation; and even under the strongest pro- 



vocation and excitement, he did not run into extrava- 
gance. His judgment always retained the ascendency; 
and though inflexible in his opposition to Romanism, 
he did not hesitate to chastise with extreme severity 
the dangerous aberrations of Protestant fanatics. In 
the presence of the Zwickau prophets, Melanchthon 
wavered; but Luther stood firm as a rock, unmasking 
and condemning their deluded or hypocritical preten- 
sions. He could not be turned aside from the truth. 
He was the only man of the sixteenth century that had 
the wisdom and strength to lead the battle of the 
Reformation. Everywhere on the extended field his 
vigilant eye observed the complex movements of the 
opposing forces, and his brain directed and his voice 
cheered the great Protestant army of Germany. 
Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon are the world's ablest 
martial chieftains ; yet their work was safety and 
simplicity itself compared with that of Luther — the 
thinker, the orator, the leader of the Reformation. 

As in almost everything else, Luther was great in 
industry. His writings fill twenty-four folio volumes. 
With his life filled with practical duties, it is almost 
incomprehensible how he could accomplish so much 
with his pen. The secret lies in his indefatigable in- 
dustry, that allowed no moment to escape unimproved 
Here is his apology to his printer for some oversights 


in his manuscript: "I am very busily employed — I 
preach twice every day, I labor at the Psalter, I am 
engaged on postils, I reply to my adversaries, I con- 
tend against the bull of excommunication in German 
and Latin, and defend myself, not to mention the 
letters which I have to write to my friends, and the 
conversations that occur at home and elsewhere." 
This was written at an early stage of his career; and 
as in every busy and useful life, labors and cares in- 
creased with his years. He toiled with almost super- 
human effort in his translation of the Bible. "Alas!" 
he said, " what a great and difficult task it is to make 
these Hebrew writers speak German — how reluctant 
they are to forsake their Hebrew ways and suit them- 
selves to our rude German, just as if you would com- 
pel the nightingale to cease from her melodious strains, 
and to imitate the monotonous and odious cry of the 
cuckoo." Again he said : " I diligently exercised my- 
self to employ pure and distinct German ; and it often 
happened to us that we were two, three, and four weeks 
searching and inquiring for a single word, and after all 
sometimes failed to find it. In Job, Melanchthon, 
Aurogallus and myself encountered so many difficul- 
ties that we sometimes scarcely finished three lines in 
four days." After such conscientious and laborious 
effort, no wonder that his translation is a marvel of 



fidelity and excellence. But we are not to look for this 
painstaking care in his own productions. He wrote 
from an overflowing fulness of mind and heart ; he 
was not forced to seek for ideas, but rather found diffi- 
culty in mastering the copious fountain that welled up 
in his soul. He spoke from an inner necessity. His 
pen dashed furiously across the page; he did not stop 
to refine and polish his language as did Melanchthon, 
but let his thoughts clothe themselves as best they 
could. His style is sometimes diffuse; it is not al- 
ways clear; the construction is occasionally confused; 
and yet his writings never fail of their mark. A re- 
sistless energy of soul vibrates in every paragraph ; it 
bears down opposition, and forces conviction. The 
style is the man. It bends with every changing 
emotion ; sometimes, when the great soul of the writer 
is shaken with a mighty thought or emotion, it thun- 
ders and crashes like the storm ; and again, when a 
buoyant joy has settled down upon his heart, it gently 
plashes like the wavelets of a sun-lit sea. 

Such was Martin Luther. The ablest writers of 
modern times — historians, philosophers, theologians, 
poets — have eulogized his character and work. His 
life kindles admiration. No epic hero was ever greater. 
A man among men, yet towering above them in un- 
approachable grandeur. Holding the destiny of na- 


tions in his hand, he was calm and steadfast in God. 
Conscious at last of his divine mission, he esteemed 
his life as nothing. What power of thought and range 
of knowledge! He was inspired with the inspiration 
that comes from deep communion with God. His 
heart measured up to the full size of his capacious 
intellect. After wrestling with the mightiest sov- 
ereign of Christendom, and humbling his pride, he 
went home to play with his children. Matchless 
courage and strength united with childlike simplicity 
and tenderness! His life was unselfish consecration 
to truth. Look at him as we will, he stands out in 
solitary grandeur. In the language of Carlyle, whose 
study of the Reformer is admirably sympathetic and 
just: "I will call this Luther a true great man; great 
in intellect, in courage, affection, and integrity, one of 
our most lovable and precious men. Great, not as a 
hewn obelisk, but as an Alpine mountain — so simple, 
honest, spontaneous, not setting up to be great at all; 
there for quite another purpose than being great! 
Ah yes, unsubduable granite, piercing far and wide 
into the heavens; yet in the clefts of it fountains, 
green and beautiful valleys with flowers! A right 
spiritual hero and prophet; once more, a true son of 
nature and fact, for whom these centuries, and many 
that are to come yet, will be thankful to heaven." * 

•Carlyle, Heroes and Hero-Worship. Lecture IV. 



LUTHER was gifted with great soundness of judg- 
ment, and was penetrated by the letter and spirit of 
Scripture. These two facts determine the character of 
his writings, and give them permanent value. In the 
existence of the sexes he saw the natural basis of 
marriage, and in revelation he found it a divine institu- 
tion. The vices of the monks and Romish clergy ex- 
hibited the demoralizing effects of the unnatural law 
of celibacy. Hence, both by his example and in his 
writings, Luther defends what nature and God alike 
enjoin. In this he shows himself in advance of the 
Roman Catholic Church, which, while making mar- 
riage a sacrament, pronounces celibacy better. To 
select but a single passage from many, Luther says, 
" Next to God's Word, the world has not a more lovely 
and endearing treasure on earth than the holy state of 
matrimony, which He has Himself instituted, preserv- 
ing it, having adorned and blessed it above all sta- 
tions, from which not only all emperors, kings, and 
saints, but even the eternal Son of God, though in a 


supernatural way, are born. Whoever, therefore, hates 
the married state, and speaks evil of it, certainly is 
of the devil." 

Luther had a clear conception of the constitution of 
society. He recognized the existence of the family, 
the State, and the Church, which he calls "three hier- 
archies established of God;" and the functions pertain- 
ing to these separate spheres, taken together, consti- 
tute the sum of human duty. The basis of both the 
State and the Church is found in the family, in which 
the young are to be trained for civil life and the 

1 Kingdom of God. "From the Fourth Command- 
ment," Luther says, " it is obvious that God attaches 
great importance to obedience to parents. And where 
it is not found, there can be neither good morals nor 
good government. For where obedience is lacking in 
the family, no city or principality or kingdom can be 
well governed. Family government is the basis of- 

/all other government; and where the root is bad, the 

\trunk and fruit can not be good. 

"For what is a city but a collection of houses? 
How then can a city be well governed, when there is 
no government in the separate houses, and neither 
child nor servant is obedient? Likewise, what is a 
province but a collection of cities, towns, and villages? 
When, therefore, the families are badly controlled. 



how can the province be well governed? Verily 
there can be nothing but tyranny, witchcraft, mur- 
ders, thefts, disobedience. A principality is made up 
of districts ; a kingdom, of principalities ; an empire, of ^ 

kingdoms ; these are all composed of families. Wh ere 
the fajher and jnother rule badl y, and le t-the-children 
have their own way, there neither^ cityj town, villa ge, 
cllstrict7principality, kingdom, nor empire, can be welt_-^ 
'and^eaceiully governed." 

Luther set great store by the parental relation. 
" Oh, what a great, rich, and noble blessing," he ex- 
claims, " God confers upon the married state ! What 
joy does not a man experience in his descendants, 
who are numbered from him, even after his death." 
Again: "Children are the most lovely fruits and 
bonds of marriage, and confirm and preserve the bond 
of love." In his "Large Catechism," Luther begins 
his exposition of the Fourth Commandment with these 
words: "The parental estate God has especially 
honored above all estates that are beneath Him, so 
that He not only commands us to love our parents, 
but also ^ honor them. With respect to brothers, 
sisters, and our neighbors in general. He commands 
nothing higher than that we love them; so that He 
separates and distinguishes father and mother above 
all other persons upon earth, and places them next to 




himself. For to honor is far higher than to love^ inas- 
much as it comprehends not only love, but also mod- 
esty, humility, and deference as though to a majesty 
there hidden, and requires not only that they be ad- 
dressed kindly and with reverence, but most of all 
that both in heart and with the body we so act as to 
ihow that we esteem them very highly, and that, next 
Jo God, we regard them the very highest." 

The right training of children Luther enforces 
especially as a divine requirement. Parents are not 
free to do with their children as they please. They 
are entrusted with parental authority that they may 
train up their offspring for society and the Church, and 
they are held to a strict account for the manner in 
which they discharge this duty. This thought is 
presented again and again in Luther's writings. " But 
this is again a sad evil," he says, " that all live on as 
though God gave us children for our pleasure or 
amusement, and servants that we should employ them 
like a cow or ass, only for work, or as though all we 
had to do with our subjects were only to gratify our 
wantonness, without any concern on our part as to 
what they learn or how they live; and no one is willing 
to see that this is the command of the Supreme 
Majesty, who will most strictly call us to an account 
and punish us for it, nor that there is so great need to 


be SO intensely anxious about the young. For if we 
wish to have proper and excellent persons both for civil 
and ecclesiastical government, we must spare no dili- 
gence, time, or cost in teaching and educating our chil- 
dren, that they may serve God and the world, and we 
must not think only how we may amass money and 
possessions for them. . . . Let every one know, 
therefore, that above all things it is his duty, (or other- 
wise he will lose the divine favor,) to bring up his 
children in the fear and knowledge of God; and if they 
have talents, to have them instructed and trained in a 
liberal education, that men may be able to have their 
aid in government and in whatever is necessary." 

In this connection Luther's conception of religion 
appears in strong contrast with the works of human 
devising encouraged in the Romish Church. A right 
performance of domestic duties, particularly in the 
proper rearing of children, is better than fasting and 
pilgrimages. " Married people," Luther says, " should 
know that they can perform no better and no more 
useful work for God, Christianity, the world, them- 
selves, and their children, than by bringing up their 
children well. Pilgrimages to Rome and to Jerusalem, 
building churches, providing for masses, or whatever 
else the work may be called, is nothing in comparison 
with the right training of children, for that is the 


Straight road to heaven ; and it can not be more easily 
attained in any other way. It is the peculiar work of 
parents, and when they do not attend to it, there is a 
perversion of nature, as when fire does not burn or water 
moisten. On the other hand, hell can not be more 
easily deserved, and no more hurtful work can be done, 
than by neglecting children, letting them swear, learn 
shameful words and songs, and do as they please." 

Luther is not content with merely showing parents 
their duty, but with great earnestness he urges them 
to its performance. There is no argument that a com- 
prehensive and thoughtful mind can adduce, that is 
not brought to bear upon them. The divine require- 
ments are set forth ; the evils resulting to society and 
the Church through neglect of their children are 
clearly pointed out; their gratitude to God and their 
obligations to mankind are urged as motives ; and the 
guilt and punishment they bring upon themselves and 
their children are fully portrayed. As will be seen in 
the " Letter to the Mayors and Aldermen," and in the 
" Sermon on Sending Children to School," Luther in 
discussing this matter sometimes rises to an overmas- 
tering eloquence. A single passage from the " Large 
Catechism" will serve as illustration: "Think what 
deadly injury you are doing if you be negligent and 
fail to bring up your child to usefulness and piety. 



and how you bring upon yourself all sin and wrath, 
meriting hell even in your dealings with your own 
children, even though you be otherwise ever so pious 
and holy. And because this is disregarded, God so 
fearfully punishes the world that there is no discipline, 
government, or peace, of which we all complain, but 
do not see that it is our fault, for as we train them we 
have spoiled and disobedient children and subjects." 

Luther recognizes the difficulties in the way of a 
salutary domestic training. Some parents are so 
lacking in piety that, like the ostrich, they harden 
themselves against their own offspring. Others by 
reason of their ignorance are unqualified to raise their 
children in a proper manner. And still others, who 
have the requisite piety and intelligence, are constantly 
burdened with cares and labors. Luther would have 
only such persons marry as are competent to instruct 
their children in the elements of religion. " No one 
should become a father," he says, " unless he is able 
to instruct his children in the Ten Commandments 
and in the Gospel, so that he may bring up true 
Christians. But many enter the state of holy matri- 
mony who can not say the Lord's Prayer, and know- 
ing nothing themselves, they are utterly incompetent 
to instruct their children. Children should be brought 
up in the fear of God If the kingdom of God is to 



come in power, we must begin with children, and 
teach them from the cradle." 

Luther naturally attached great importance to re- 
ligious instruction. The truths of revelation — sin, 
redemption, judgment, eternal life — were to him su- 
preme realities. Christianity is the power that regene- 
rates our evil nature, fosters every virtue, and brings 
us into harmony with God. Whether we consider 
the present life or the life to come, it fits us for the 
highest usefulness and happiness. Relig io us instru cr, 
tion, therefore, beco mes the j Rrst_dutyu>f-th€ -parental: 
relatjoiL "See to it," Luther says^ " th at yo u first of 
all have your children instructed in spiritual things, 
giving them first to God and afterwards to secular 
duties." " Children should be instructed in what per- 
tains to God. They should be taught to know the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and constantly to remember how 
He has suffered for us, what He has done, and what 
He has promised. Thus were the children of Israel 
commanded to relate to their children and successors 
the miracles God had done for their fathers in Egypt. 
And when children have this knowledge, and yet do 
not learn to love and adore God, and to follow Jesus 
Christ, the punishment of God should be held up be- 
fore them — His fearful judgment and anger at the 

icked. If a person learns from youth up to recog- 


nize the benefits of God, and hence to love Him, and 
likewise the punishment and threatenings of God, 
and hence to fear Him, he will not forget it afterwards 
when he is old. For God will be honored in these 
two things, namely, that we love Him as a father for 
His blessings, and fear Him as a judge for His punish- 

The chief means of this religious instruction is the 
catechism, the principal parts of which are the Ten 
Commandments, the creed, and the Lord's Prayer. 
The head of the family should see to it that the chil- 
dren and servants thoroughly learn these leading 
articles of faith and duty. At least once a week he 
should examine them in order to ascertain what they 
have learned; and if they are not familiar with it, to 
keep them at it. Unwillingness to study the catechism 
Luther characterized as presumption, since it contains 
the fundamental articles of Christian belief and duty, 
and he himself set the example of reading and medi- 
tating upon it every morning. The Ten Command- 
ments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer, says Luther, 
" are the most necessary parts, which every Christian 
should first learn to repeat word for word, and which 
our children should be accustomed to recite daily 
when they arise in the morning, when they sit down 
to their meals, and when they retire at night; and 



until they repeat them they should be given neither 
food nor drink. The same duty is also incumbent 
upon every head of a household, with respect to his 
man-servants and maid-servants, if they do not know 
these things and are unwilling to learn them. For a 
person who is so heathenish as to be unwilling to 
learn these things is not to be tolerated ; for in these 
three parts everything contained in the Scriptures is 
comprehended in short, general, and simple terms." 

Yet Luther would not have h arshness employed in 
this_ religious , jjistructicoaL-Jknowing that„,xigQrQU^ 

^ ^^^''^^y-J ^-j^l^.-JQ--^^^^^^ ^^^ purpose. On the con- 
trary, he would have it made a pleasure to t he chil - 
dren; and to this end we should adapt ourselves to 

their ways, prattle with them, and enter into their 
plays. Home should be made a delight; but at all 
times, in joy and in sorrow, the providence of God 
should be recognized. " We might thus," says Lu- 
ther, " train our youth, in a childlike way and in the 
midst of their plays, in God's fear and honor, so that 
the First and Second Commandments might be famil- 
iar and in constant practice. Then some good might 
adhere, spring up and bear fruit, and men grow up in 
whom an entire land might rejoice and be glad. This 
would be the true way to bring up children ; since^ by 
leans of kindness, and with delight, they can become 


accustomed to it. For what must only be forced with 
rods and blows will have no good result, and at f^j:^^ 
thest under such treatment, they will remain godly 
no longer than the rod descends upon their backs." 

Luther's views of domestic discipline, based at once 
on nature and Scripture, were of the soundest. Whi le 
strictly requiring obedience, parents should te mper 
their government with moderation and love. We 
should curb and direct our children rather than break 
their spirit — a course that renders them pusillanimous. 
As Luther confesses, he suffered as a child from-4indue 
domestic rigor. In his own home at Wittenberg, while 
ente ring with deligh t^ into t he pleasures of his chi ldren, 
4ie was_ strict in requiring o lag dience . He once refused 
forJ:hree days to receive an offending son intoJ avor; 
and when Dr. Jonas and Dr. Teutleben interceded for 
the boy, Luther said, "I would rather have a dead 
than disobedient son." Commenting on Colossians 
iii. 21, " Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, 
lest they be discouraged," he says : "The injunction 
St. Paul here gives pertains to the mind; for of the 
body he in this place says nothing. He forbids that 
parents should provoke their children to anger, and 
thus discourage them. This is spoken against those 
who use passionate violence in bringing up their 
children. Such discipline begets in the child's mind, 




(Which is yet tender, a state of fear and imbecility, and 
develops a feeling of hate towards the parents, so that 
it often runs away from home. What hope can we 
have for a child that hates and distrusts its parents? 
Yet St. Paul does not mean that we should not punish 
children, but that we should punish them from love, 
seeking not to cool our anger, but to make them 

The parent should understand his responsibilil^ 
and not ruin his child from a false tenderness. The 
soul of the child is more than the body, and its char- 
acter should not be r uined through a neglect of the^ 
rod. Luther's nature was far too sound ever to sink 
into morbid sentimentality, and he quotes with ap- 
proval the well known declaration of Solomon. "A 
false love," he says " blinds parents so that they regard 
the body of their child more than his soul. Hence 
the wise man says, * He that spareth his rod hateth his 
son : but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes' 
Prov. xiii. 24) .... Hence it is highly necessary 
that all parents regard the soul of their child more 
than his body, and look upon him as a precious, 
eternal treasure, which God has entrusted to them for 
preservation, so that the world, the flesh, and the 
devil do not destroy him. For at death and in the 
judgment they will have to render a strict account of 
their stewardship." 



There are three ways in which parents ruin their 
children — by neglect, by bad example, and by worldly 
training. " Those parents that knowingly neglect their 
children and let them grow up without proper instruc- 
tion, bring about their ruin ; and though they do not 
set a bad example, yet they spoil their children by un- 
due indulgence. . . . Such people as thus fondle 
and indulge their children must bear the sins of their 
children as if committed by themselves." " There are 
others who ruin their children by setting them a bad 
example in word and deed There are peo- 
ple that are delighted when their sons are pugnacious 
and willing to fight, as if it were a great honor for 
them to be afraid of no one. Such people will in the 
end pay dearly for their folly, when they are called to 
mourn the untimely death that often with justice over- 
takes their sons. Young people are inclined to evil 
desires and to anger, and therefore it is necessary that 
parents should not excite them thereto by their example 
in word and deed. For when a child is accustomed 
to hear shameful words and oaths from its parents, 
what else can it learn but shameful words and oaths?" 
"The third class that ruin their children are those who 
teach them to love the world, and who have no other 
solicitude than that their children acquire an imposing 
bearing, learn to dance and dress, and cut a figure in so- 


ciety. We find but few at the present time who are as 
solicitous that their children be provided with those 
things that relate to God and the soul, as that they be 
provided with clothes, pleasures, wealth, and honor." 
The sum of filial duty as enjoined in the Fourth 
Commandment is given by Luther as follows : " Learn, 
therefore, what is the honor toward parents required 
by this Commandment; first, that they be held in 
honor and esteemed above all things, as the most 
precious treasure on earth. Secondly, that in our 
words to them we observe modesty, and do not speak 
roughly, haughtily, and defiantly; but yield to them 
in silence, even though they go too far. Thirdly, also 
with respect to works, that we show them such honor 
with body and possessions, as to serve them, help 
them, and provide for them when old, sick, infirm, or 
poor, and all that not only gladly, but with humility 
and reverence, as doing it before God. For he who 
knows how to regard them in his heart will not allow 
them to suffer hunger or want, but will place them 
above and near him, and will share with them what- 
ever he has and can obtain." 

Interesting and valuable extracts might be indefi- 
nitely extended ; but enough has been said to exhibit 
/, Luther's beautiful ideal of domestic life. MarrijigeJs 
A to be honored as a di vine institution — the source of 


the highest earthly pleasures. The family occupies a \ 
fundamental relation to both civil and divine govern- 
ment, since it has the training of the future citizen and 
servant of God. By natural and divine right, authority 
is lodged in the parents, who occupy at once the 
threefold office of prophet, priest, and king. It is their 
function to instruct, to train, and to govern. The im- 
mediate end to be attained is the welfare and happiness 
of the family itself; and more remotely, the prepara- 
tion of the young for useful and righteous living after 
their departure from the paternal roof Children are 
to be regarded as a precious gift of God. Domestic 
government is to be administered in wisdom and love, 
which will prevent injustice, caprice, and passionate 
violence. The instruction of children, which should 
include every thing necessary for after life, should be- 
gin with religion as the most important of all subjects. 
The character should be based on a sense of personal 
obligation and responsibility to God, and the whole 
life be directed to a fulfilment of the divine command- 
ments in all their relations. The parents should in all 
things set an example of upright living; and as long 
as the children are under parental control, they should 
be held to respect, love and obedience. Thus trained, 
they go forth into life to become honored and useful 
members of society. 



Luther contributed in various ways to the advance- 
ment of education, and in this respect, as in many 
others, he rises high above all his contemporaries. 
With his usual penetration, he perceived at once the 
obligation and necessity of maintaining schools, and 
with powerful words urged this duty upon parents, 
cities, and princes. He pointed out the glaring defects 
of the schools of the time, and indicated improvements 
in both studies and methods. For religious instruc- 
tion, which he ma-de prominent, he wrote a catechism 
which, after the lapse of more than three centuries, 
has not been superseded in the large body of Protes- 
tants bearing his name. In co-operation with Me- 
lanchthon, he drew up plans for primary and second- 
ary schools, and from the University of Wittenberg 
sent forth many enlightened and successful teachers. 
He pointed out with great clearness the fundamental 
truths, upon which all state and religious education 
must rest. If he did not emphasize education for its 
own sake, it was because his practical mind was ob- 



sorbed by the pressing needs of the time. Unfortu- 
nately, as often happens with great reformers, he was 
not fully understood by the men of his age; and this 
fact, in connection with the religious wars that followed 
after his death, prevented his ideas from being fully 
realized in practice. But even for the advanced peda- 
gogy of to-day his writings contain many useful les- 

Luther urged many considerations for the establish- 
ment of schools. On account of the religious disturb- 
ances, the educational institutions maintained under 
the Papacy were declining, and parents were becoming 
more indifferent. This neglect of education appeared 
to the Reformer as the work of the devil, who was 
thereby seeking the destruction of society and the 
Church. "Therefore I beg you all," says Luther, "in 
the name of God and of our neglected youth, not to 
think of this subject lightly, as do many who do not 
see what the prince of this world intends. For the 
right instruction of youth is a matter in which Christ 
and all the world are concerned. Thereby are we all 
aided. And consider that great Christian zeal is 
needed to overcome the silent, secret, and artful mach- 
inations of the devil. If we must annually expend 
large sums on muskets, roads, bridges, dams, and the 
like, in order that the city may have temporal peace 


and comfort, why should we not apply as much to our 
poor neglected youth, in order that they may have a 
skilful schoolmaster or two?" 

The Germans ought to be moved, Luther said, to 
contribute of their means to the support of schools, 
because they had been relieved of papal exactions. 
The great opportunities afforded Germany by the Re- 
formation should not be suffered to pass without im- 
provement. "I believe Germany has never had so 
much of the Word of God," says Luther, "as at the 
present time ; history reveals no similar period. If we 
let the gracious season pass without gratitude and im- 
provement, it is to be feared that we shall suffer still 
more terrible darkness and distress. My dear coun- 
trymen, buy while the market is at your door; gather 
the harvest while the sun shines and the weather is 
fair; use the grace and Word of God while they are 
near. For know this, that the Word and grace of 
God are like a passing shower, which does not return 
where it has once been. The divine favor once rested 
upon the Jews, but it has departed. Paul brought the 
Gospel into Greece, but now they have the Turks. 
Rome and Italy once enjoyed its blessings, but now 
they have the Pope. And the German people should 
not think that they will always have it, for ingratitude 
and neglect will banish it." It is the will of God that 


children should be instructed, as is abundantly shown 
by Old Testament injunctions. In view of all these 
considerations, Luther's feelings were moved, and he 
exclaimed : " It is indeed a sin and shame that we 
must be aroused and incited to the duty of educating 
our children and of considering their highest interests, 
whereas nature itself should move us thereto, and 
the example of the heathen affords us varied instruc- 
tion. There is no irrational animal that does not care 
for and instruct its young in what they should know, 
except the ostrich . . . And what would it avail if we 
possessed and performed all else, and became perfect 
saints, if we neglect that for which we chiefly live, 
namely, to care for the young? In my judgment 
there is no other outward offence that in the sight of 
God so heavily burdens the world, and deserves such 
heavy chastisement, as the neglect to educate chil- 

The two great reasons always prominent in Luther's 
mind for the maintenance of schools were the welfare 
of the Church and the needs of the State. Around 
these two central thoughts may be grouped nearly all 
that he wrote on education. His sermon on the " Duty 
of Sending Children to School" — his most extended 
educational treatise — is divided into (i) the spiritual, 
and (2) the temporal benefits of education. In the 


introduction to a treatise by Justus Menius,* Luther 
presents his views in a compendious manner: "This 
little book will be highly useful to heedless parents, 
that they may learn what God has commanded them 
concerning their children. If you have a child capable 
of learning, you are not free to bring it up as you 
please, or to deal with it according to your caprice, 
but you must consider that you are under obligation to 
God to promote both spiritual and secular government, 
and to serve Him thereby. God needs pastors, preach- 
ers, school teachers in His spiritual kingdom, and you 
can provide them ; if you do not, behold, you rob, not 
a poor man of his coat, but the kingdom of God of 
many souls. . . . Thus, also, in secular govern- 
ment, you can serve your sovereign or country better 
by training children than by building castles and cities, 
and collecting treasures from the whole earth. For 
what good can these do, without learned, wise, and 
pious people?" 

Schools help the Church by imparting a Christian 
training to children, by preparing useful teachers and 
heads of families, and by fitting ministers to preach 
and defend the Gospel. "When schools prosper," 
says Luther, "the Church remains righteous and her 

*Vorrede zu Justi Menii Buchlein von Christlicher Haus- 
haltung. 1 529. 

LUTHER 6n schools. 1 33 

doctrine pure .... Young pupils and students are 
the seed and source of the Church. If we were dead, 
whence would come our successors, if not from the 
schools ? For the sake of the Church we must have 
and maintain Christian schools. They may not ap- 
pear attractive, but they are useful and necessary. 
Children are taught the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, 
and thus the Church is wonderfully aided through the 
primary schools." 

Luther set a high value on the ministerial office, 
both because of its divine institution, and of its neces- 
sity for the advancement of the Church. He saw, too, 
in its religious teaching a strong support of civil order. 
Nothing can exceed the vigor with which he admon- 
ishes parents to give their sons to the ministry. They 
are reminded of their obligation to God, of the good 
they may accomplish through their children, and of 
the evil that will result from withholding them from 
the clerical office. " You have children and can give 
them," Luther says, "but will not do it; thus, so far 
as you are concerned, the ministry falls to the ground. 
And because you with gross ingratitude let the sacred 
office, so dearly purchased, languish and die, you will 
be accursed, and in your own person or in your chil- 
dren you will suffer shame and sorrow, or otherwise 
be so tormented that you will be damned with them 


not only here on earth but eternally in hell. This 
will not fail to come upon you, in order that you may 
learn that your children are not so entirely your own, 
that you can withhold them from God ; he will have 
justice, and they are more His than yours." 

It is a mistake to suppose, as some have done, that 
Luther was interested in education solely for the sake 
of the Church. His views were much too broad for 
that. He complained that the Papists conducted 
schools almost exclusively in the interests of the priest- 
hood. He regarded civil government as a divine in- 
stitution, and also as a necessary arrangement for 
social order and happiness. On both grounds it is to 
be maintained. Speaking of secular government, he 
says : " It is a beautiful and divine ordinance, an ex- 
cellent gift of God, who ordained it, and who wishes to 
have it maintained as indispensable to human welfare; 
without it men could not live together in society, but 
would devour one another like irrational animals. 
Therefore as it is the function and honor of the min- 
isterial office to make saints out of sinners, to restore 
the dead to life, and to confer blessedness upon the 
lost, to change the servants of the devil into children 
of God : so it is the function and honor of civil gov- 
ernment to make men out of wild animals, and to 
restrain them from degenerating into brutes. It pro- 


tects every one in body, so that he may not be injured; 
it protects every one in family, so that the members 
may not be wronged; it protects every one in house, 
lands, cattle, property, so that they may not be at- 
tacked, injured, or stolen."* 

With such views of civil government, Luther was 
simply consistent when he said : " Even if there were 
no soul, and men did not need schools and the lan- 
guages for the sake of Christianity and the Scrip- 
tures, still for the establishment of the best schools 
everywhere, both for boys and girls, this consideration 
is of itself sufficient, namely, that society, for the main- 
tenance of civil order and the proper regulation of the 
household, needs accomplished and well-trained men 
and women. Now_such men are to come from boys, 
and^such wojsenJrQm girls: he nce^it is neces sary that 
boys^n^^^irjs^be properly taught and brought up."t 

Luther perceived the truth, which has become a 
maxim in modern education, that the welfare of a State 
depends on the intelligence and virtue of its citizens. 
As observation proved to him, this vital interest could 
not be wholly entrusted either to parents or the 
Church; the former would in many cases neglect it, 
and the latter too often pervert it. " Therefore it will 

♦Sermon on the Duty of Sending Children to School, 
t Letter to Mayors and Aldermen in behalf of Ciiristian 


be the duty of the Mayors and Council," Luther says, 
* to exercise the greatest care over the young. For 
since the happiness, honor, and life of the city are com- 
mitted to their hands, they would be held recreant 
before God and the world, if they did not, day and 
night, with all their power, seek its welfare and im- 
provement. Now the welfare of a city does not consist 
alone in great treasures, firm walls, beautiful houses, 
and abundant munitions of war; indeed, where all 
these are found, and reckless fools come into power, 
the city sustains the greatest injury. But the highest 
welfare, safety, and power of a city consists in able, 
learned, wise, upright, cultivated citizens, who can se- 
cure, preserve, and utilize every treasure and advan- 
tage." It is to be noted, however, that in handing 
over education to the State, Luther did not contem- 
plate, as will be readily understood, a complete secu- 
larization of the schools, but desired them to have a 
distinctly Christian character. 

Education is an interest of such vital importance 
that it should be made compulsory. When towns 
and villages are able to maintain schools, the sove- 
reign of the country has a right to compel them to do 
so, and likewise to require parents to send their chil- 
dren. In a letter to the Elector John in 1526, Luther 
says: "Where there are towns and villages which 


ha\'e the ability, your electoral grace has the power to 
compel them to maintain schools, pulpits, and par- 
ishes. If they will not do it from a consideration for 
their salvation, then your electoral grace, as highest 
guardian of the youth and of all others needing super- 
vision, is to compel them to do so, just as they are 
compelled to render contributions and services toward 
bridges, paths and roads, or other matters pertaining 
to the public interest. Those that enjoy the privi- 
leges of a country, are to contribute towards every- 
thing that the common interests of the country re- 
quire. Now there is nothing more necessary than to 
educate men who are to succeed us and govern." 
Again: "I maintain that the civil authorities are 
under obligation to compel the people to send their 
children to school, especially such as are promising, 
as has elsewhere been said. For our rulers are cer- 
tainly bound to maintain the spiritual and secular 
offices and callings, so that there may always be 
preachers, jurists, pastors, scribes, physicians, school- 
masters, and the like; for these cannot be dispensed 
with. If the government can compel such citizens as 
are fit for military service to bear spear and rifle, to 
mount ramparts and perform other martial duties in 
time of war; how much more has it a right to compel 
the people to send their children to school, because in 


this case we are warring with the devil, whose object 
it is secretly to exhaust our cities and principalities 
of their strong men, to destroy the kernel and leave 
a shell of ignorant and helpless people, whom he can 
sport and juggle with at pleasure. That is starving 
out a city or country, destroying it without a struggle, 
and without its knowledge."* 

An examination of Luther's pedagogical writings, 
shows that he had in mind three classes of schools, 
and thus a comprehensive system of education: i. The 
Latin Schools, to which he gave most prominence; 2. 
The Universities, which he wished to see reformed; 
and 3. Schools for the common people, in which they 
might be fitted for the various callings of life. The 
fundamental principles of Protestantism, as we have 
already seen, logically issue in popular education — a 
fact that Luther clearly recognized. He repeatedly 
urged the establishment of schools for girls, which 
besides religious instruction were to include reading 
and writing. As early as 1520, in his Address to the 
Christian Nobility of the German Nation, he says: 
" Above all, in schools of all kinds the chief and most 
common lesson should be the Scriptures, and for 
young boys the Gospel; and would to God each town 
had also a girls' school^ in which girls might be taught 

♦Sermon on Duty of Sending Children to School. 


the Gospel for an hour daily, either in German or Latin ! 
In truth, schools, monasteries, and convents were 
founded for this purpose, and with good Christian in- 
tentions, as we read concerning St. Agnes, and other 
saints ; then were there holy virgins and martyrs, and 
in those times it was well with Christendom, but now 
it has been turned into nothing but praying and sing- 
ing. Should not every Christian be expected by his 
ninth or tenth year to know all the holy Gospels, con- 
taining as they do his very name and life?" In a 
passage already quoted, Luther declares that the 
maintenance of civil order and the proper regulation 
of the household require "the establishment of the 
best schools everywhere, both for boys and girls." In 
the constitution of the congregation at Leisnic, pub- 
lished and commended by Luther as a model, we find 
the following : " The ten directors, in the name of the 
congregation, shall have power to call, appoint, and 
remove a school teacher for the young boys. . . . 
In like manner the ten directors, out of the common 
treasury, shall provide an honorable, mature, and 
blameless woman to instruct young girls under twelve 
years of age in Christian discipline, honor, and virtue, 
and at a suitable place to teach them reading and 
writing in German a few hours daily." In a letter to 
the Elector John in 1530, Luther expressed his joy &t 


the progress of education among the common people : 
" The tender youth of both sexes now grow up so well 
instructed in the catechism and Scripture, that my 
heart delights to behold how the boys and girls are 
able to pray, to exercise their faith, and to speak 
more of God and of Christ than all the cloisters, con- 
vents, and schools have hitherto been able to do." 

y Circumstances were allowed to determine the way 
in which schools should be supported. In some cases 
a tuition fee was charged, and in others the teacher 
was paid out of the common treasury of the congrega- 
tion or State. The property of the cloisters, which in 
northern Germany had been emptied of monks and 
nuns, Luther desired to have appropriated to educa- 
tional and ecclesiastical uses. This was done in many 
cases. The people were urged to contribute liberally 
to the support of schools, and Luther recommended 
education as a suitable object for bequests. "There- 
fore," says Luther, "let him who can, watch; and 

/wherever the government sees a promising boy, let 
him be sent to school. If the father is poor, let 
the child be aided with the property of the Church. 
The rich should make bequests to such objects, as 
some have done, who have founded scholarships; that 
is giving money to the Church in a proper way.y 
You do not thus release the souls of the dead from 


purgatorial fire, but you help, through the mainte- 
nance of divinely appointed offices, to prevent the liv- 
ing from going to purgatory ; yea, you secure their 
deliverance from hell and entrance into heaven, and 
bestow upon them temporal peace and happiness. 
That would be a praiseworthy Christian bequest, in 
which God would take pleasure, and for which He 
would honor and bless you, that you might have joy 
and peace in Him." 

Luther insisted on the importance of school train- 
ing, as is shown in the following passage : " But each 
one, you say, may educate and discipline his own sons 
and daughters. To which I reply: we see indeed 
how it goes with this teaching and training! And 
when it is carried to the highest point, and is attended 
with success, it results in nothing more than that 
the learners, in some measure, acquire a forced exter- 
nal propriety of manner; in other respects they remain 
dunces, knowing nothing, and incapable of giving ad- 
vice or aid. But were they instructed in schools or 
elsewhere by thoroughly qualified male or female 
teachers, who taught the languages, other arts, and 
history, then the pupils would hear the history and 
maxims of the world, and see how things went with 
each city, kingdom, prince, man and woman; and 
thus, in a short time, they would be able to compre- 


hend as in a mirror, the character, life, counsels, 
undertakings, successes, and failures of the whole 
world from the beginning. From this knowledge 
they could regulate their views, and order their 
course of life in the fear of God, having become wise 
in judging what is to be sought and what avoided in 
this outward life, and capable of advising and directing 
others. But the training that is given at home is ex- 
pected to make us wise through our own experience. 
Before that can take place, we shall die a hundred 
times, and all through life act injudiciously; for much 
time is needed to give experience." 

Luther highly esteemed the office of teaching ; he 
recognized not only its importance, but also its diffi- 
culties. "An industrious, pious school-master or 
teacher," he says, " who faithfully trains and educates 
boys, can never be sufficiently recompensed, and no 
money will pay him, as even the heathen Aris- 
totle says. Yet the calling is shamefully despised 
among us, as if it were nothing, and at the same time 
we pretend to be Christians! If I had to give up 
preaching and my other duties, there is no office I 
would rather have than that of school-teacher. For I 
know that next to the ministry it is the most useful, 
greatest, and best; and I am not sure which of the 
two is to be preferred. For it is hard to make old dogs 


docile and old rogues pious, yet that is what the min- 
istry works at, and must work at, in great part, in 
vain ; but young trees, though some may break in the 
process, are more easily bent and trained. Therefore 
let it be considered one of the highest virtues on earth 
faithfully to train the children of others, which duty 
but very few parents attend to themselves."* And 
again : " I would have no one chosen for a preacher 
who has not previously been a school-teacher. But 
at the present time our young men want to become 
preachers at once, and to avoid the labor of school- 
keeping. When one has taught about ten years, then 
he can give it up with a good conscience; for the 
labor is too heavy and the appreciation is small. Yet 
a school-master is as important to a city as a pastor 
is. We can do without mayors, princes, and noble- 
men, but not without schools ; for these must rule the 
world. We see to-day that there is no potentate or 
lord who is not ruled by a jurist or theologian; for 
they are ignorant themselves, and are ashamed to 
learn. Therefore schools are indispensable. And if I 
were not a preacher, there is no other calling on earth 
I would rather have. But we must consider, not how 
the world esteems and rewards it, but how God looks 
upon it."t 

♦Sermon on Duty of Sending Children to School, 
t Aus den Tischreden. 


The universities did not meet the requirements of 
Luther's practical mind. The principle of authority 
prevailed in them, to the suppression of independent 
investigation; the energy of the students was often 
wasted on useless or even frivolous questions ; and the 
results attained in culture did not correspond to the 
outlay of time and effort. In his Address to the 
Nobility in 1520, Luther says: "The universities 
also require a good, sound reformation. This I must 
say, let it vex whom it may. The fact is that what- 
ever the Papacy has ordered or instituted is only 
designed for the propagation of sin and error. What 
are the universities, as at present ordered, but as the 
Book of Maccabees says, 'schools of Greek fashion/ 
and heathenish manners,' full of dissolute living, 
where very little is taught of the Holy Scriptures and 
of the Christian faith, and the blind heathen teacher, 
Aristotle, rules even further than Christ. Now my 
advice would be that the books of Aristotle, the 
'Physics,' the 'Metaphysics,' 'Of the Soul,' and 
'Ethics,' which have hitherto been considered the 
best, be altogether abolished, with all others that pro- 
fess to treat of nature, though nothing can be learned 
from them, either of natural or spiritual things. Be- 
sides, no one has been able to understand his mean- 
ing, and much time has been wasted, and many 
vexed with much useless labor, stuc^y, and expense." 


As is evident from the foregoing survey, Luther 
approached education from the practical side. He 
was led to this aspect of the subject both by the na- 
tive bent of his mind, and the urgent necessities of the 
Church and State. While recognizing education as a 
development or strengthening of our native powers, 
he directed his attention most to its character as a 
preparation for the various duties of life. He would 
have accepted Milton's definition as a clear embodiment 
of his views : " I call a complete and generous educa- 
tion that which fits a man to perform justly, skillfully 
and magnanimously all the offices, both private and 
public, of peace and war." He would have made no 
objection to the definition of Herbert Spencer — " Edu- 
cation is the preparation for complete living" — 
though differing from the Englishman in his concep- 
tion of "complete living." He would have been 
pleased with Niemeyer's definition : " Education is at 
once the art and the science of guiding the young and 
of putting them in a condition, by the aid of instruc- 
tion, through the power of emulation and good 
example, to attain the triple end assigned to man by 
his religious, social, and national destination." The 
schools of Germany to-day are but a realization, more 
or less complete, of Luther's ideas. He sought the 
establishment of primary schools for the instructioo 


of the masses, that they might better discharge their 
domestic, religious, and social duties; he urged the 
necessity of secondary schools for those who were to 
pursue professional careers in Church and State ; he 
defended the higher education of the universities, 
where the final preparation for learned vocations was 
to be obtained. In education, as in religion, Luther 
showed himself great, a seer in advance of his age, the 
founder of a new and higher culture. 



LUTHER had a profoundly religious nature, gave 
his life to religious interests, and saturated his 
thought and feeling with religious truth. He looked 
upon religion not only as the highest interest of life, 
but as the basis of all worthy living. It was natural, 
therefore, that he should emphasize religious instruc- 
tion, and make the Scriptures prominent in schools of 
every grade. "Above all," he says, "in schools of 
all kinds the chief and most common lesson should 
be the Scriptures, and for young boys the Gospel; 
and would to God each town had also a girls' school, 
in which girls might be taught the Gospel for an hour 
daily, either in German or Latin! . . . But where the 
Holy Scriptures are not the rule, I advise no one to 
send his child. Everything must perish where God's 
Word is not studied unceasingly; and so we see what 
manner of men there are now in the universities, and 
all this is the fault of no one but the Pope, the 
bishops, and prelates, to whom the welfare of the 
young has been entrusted." " The soul can do with- 


out everything except the Word of God. Without this 
it suffers need. But when it has the Word of God, it 
needs nothing more, but has in the Word enough — 
food, joy, peace, light, art, righteousness, truth, free- 
dom, and every good thing in abundance." To pro- 
mote this knowledge of the Scriptures, to place this 
priceless treasure in the hands of the people, Luther 
translated the Bible, which was seized upon with such 
avidity that in a few years nearly half a million copies 
were in circulation. It became a mighty influence in 
Germany — an important factor in giving that country 
its present pre-eminence in Europe. 

In teaching the Bible, Luther recognized the value 
of wide experience and extensive learning. " Who- 
ever," he says, " is to teach others, especially out of 
the Holy Scriptures, and rightly to understand this 
book, must first have observed and learned to know 
the world." " One knife cuts better than another, and 
thus can one, who understands the languages and arts, 
speak and teach best." In preparation for teaching 
the Scripture, Luther recommends the most painstak- 
ing examination of the words of the text, as well as pro- 
longed meditation in the heart. "You should not 
only consider the words in your heart, but examine 
them diligently as they stand in the text, that you may 
arrive at the meaning of the Holy Ghost. And see to 


it, that you do not become weary and imagine after 
reading it once or twice that you understand it thor- 
oughly; for such a course makes, not profound theol- 
ogians, but such as resemble unripe fruit that falls be- 
fore its time." 

Next to the Scriptures Luther attached importance 
to the Catechism, which he regarded as a brief sum- 
mary of their teaching. Moved by the great ignor- 
ance he discovered during his visitation of the Saxony 
churches, he prepared in 1529 his two Catechisms, of 
which in three or four decades a hundred thousand 
copies were in use. In one of the prefaces, he says : 
" This little work has been planned and undertaken in 
order to furnish a course of instruction for children 
and the simple-minded. Hence, of old, such works re- 
ceived in Greek the name Catechism^ i. e.y instruction, 
for children. This of necessity every Christian should 
know ; so that he who does not know this should not 
be reckoned among Christians nor admitted to the 
Sacrament, just as a mechanic who does not under- 
stand the rules and customs of his trade, is rejected 
and regarded incapable. Therefore, the young should 
be thoroughly instructed in the parts which belong to 
the Catechism or instruction for children, and should 
diligently exercise themselves therein." 

Very significant in relation to method are Luther's 


directions for using the Catechism. His independent 
and practical mind is here clearly exhibited in discard- 
ing the harsh, mechanical, and uninteresting methods 
commonly in use in his day. In methods, as well 
as in studies, though sometimes falling into error, 
Luther deserves to be ranked with such educational 
reformers as Comenius and Pestalozzi. In the pre- 
face of his Small Catechism, he says: "In the first 
place, let the preacher take the utmost care to avoid 
all changes or variations in the text and wording 
of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the 
Creeds, the Sacraments, etc. Let him, on the con- 
trary, take each of the forms respectively, adhere to 
it, and repeat it anew year after year. For young 
and inexperienced people can not be successfully 
instructed unless we adhere to the same text or the 
same forms of expression. They easily become con- 
fused when the teacher at one time employs a cer- 
tain form of words and expressions, and at another, 
apparently with a view to make improvements, adopts 
a different form. The result of such a course will be 
that all the time and labor which we have expended 
will be lost." The pedagogical principle here in- 
volved may be stated thus : In teaching children use 
simplicity and repetition. It is correct. A hundred 
years later Ratich, who as an educational reformer oc- 


cupies a respectable place in the History of Education, 
said: "Teach only one thing at a time, and often 
repeat the same thing." The wisdom of lodging truth 
in the young mind by means of a fixed form of words 
is often overlooked in the teaching of the present day. 
Luther continues : " In the second place, when 
those whom you are instructing have become familiar 
with the words of the text, then teach them to under- 
stand the meaning of those words, so that they may 
become acquainted with the object and purport of the 
lesson. . . Allow ample time for the lessons. For it 
is not necessary that you should, on the same occa- 
sion, proceed from the beginning to the end of the 
several parts ; it will be more profitable if you present 
them separately, in regular succession. When the 
people have, for instance, at length correctly under- 
stood the First Commandment, you may proceed to 
the Second, and so continue. By neglecting to ob- 
serve this mode the people will be overburdened, and 
be prevented from understanding and retaining in 
memory any considerable part of the matter com- 
municated to them." About the thoroughness here 
recommended there can be no question; but as a 
general rule, the deductive method, which begins with 
comprehensive statements, should not be used with 
children. The inductive method, as set forth by 


Comenius in the following statement, is better adapted 
to child nature; "The concrete should precede the 
abstract; the simple, the complex; the nearer, the 
more remote." Yet, in a short Catechism like Luther's, 
it may be a question whether the deductive method is 
not, after all, the most economical and effective. 

" In the third place," Luther says, " when you have 
reached the end of the Short Catechism, begin anew 
with the Large Catechism, and by means of it furnish 
the people with fuller and more comprehensive expla- 
nations." This gradation in study is wise. Luther 
did not contemplate a mere lifeless memorizing of the 
doctrines and explanations of the Catechism, but a 
practical and intelligent instruction that would bear 
fruit in every-day life. " Insist in an especial manner," 
he says, " on such commandments or other parts as 
seem to be most of all misunderstood or neglected by 
your people. It will, for example, be necessary that 
you should enforce with the utmost earnestness the 
Seventh Commandment, which treats of stealing, when 
you are teaching workmen, dealers, and even farmers 
and servants, inasmuch as many of these are guilty 
of various dishonest and thievish practices." 

Luther understood the worth of the Socratic or 

question method as a means of awakening mind and 

impressing truth, and he recommends it in a writing * 

 Von der deutschen Messe und Ordnung des Gottesdienstes. 


published in 1 526. After urging the necessity of home 
instruction for children and servants, he continues : 
" Not simply that they may learn and repeat the words 
by heart, as has hitherto been the case, but let them be 
questioned from article to article, and show what each 
signifies and how they understand it. If everything 
can not be asked at one time, take one article to-day, 
and another to-morrow. For when parents or guar- 
dians will not take the trouble through themselves or 
others, there no catechetical instruction can ever be 
successful." Then follows an illustration of how this 
instruction should be given. " The teacher should 
ask: 'What do you pray?' Answer: 'The Lord's 
Prayer.' * What is meant by " Our Father who art in 
Heaven ? " ' Answer : * That God is not an earthly, 
but a Heavenly Father, who will make us rich and 
blessed in Heaven.' ' What is meant by " Hallowed 
be Thy name ? " ' Answer : ' That we should honor 
His name that it may not be profaned.' ' How is it 
profaned ? ' Answer : ' When we, who are His children, 
lead evil lives, and teach and believe error.' " And so 
on with every statement in the Catechism. 

Though living in a period of religious strife, it is to 
Luther's credit both as a Christian and teacher that he 
would not have the children perplexed with contro- 
versial questions. In the Saxony School Plan, it is 


said: "The school-master shall impress upon the 
children those truths that are necessary to right living, 
as the fear of God, faith, and good works. He shall 
not speak of polemical matters. He shall not, as 
many unskilful teachers do, accustom the children to 
hate the monks and others." 

Luther was a careful observer of children, and 
wisely proposed to adapt his methods of instruction to 
their nature. In this he anticipated our modern peda- 
gogy. In speaking of the severe punishment received 
in his childhood, he says of his parents that " they 
meant it perfectly well, but were not able, as regards 
dispositions^ to observe the distinction, according to 
which punishment must be meted out." In the " Let- 
ter to the Mayors and Aldermen," he proposes to 
utilize the natural activity and acquisitiveness of 
children in education. " Now since the young must 
leap and jump, or have something to do, because they 
have a natural desire for it that should not be re- 
strained, (for it is not well to check them in every- 
thing,) why should we not provide such schools, and 
lay before them such studies? By the gracious 
arrangement of God, children take delight in acquiring 
knowledge, whether languages, mathematics, or his- 
tory." In the Large Catechism Luther lays down the 
important principle that learning should be made 


pleasant to children. "Since we are preaching to 
children, we must also prattle with them." " What 
must be forced with rods and blows will have no good 
result, and at farthest, under such treatment, they will 
remain godly no longer than the rod descends upon 
their backs." Elsewhere, after commending an inter- 
esting device (that of two little bags with pockets) for 
impressing the meaning of faith and love, Luther says : 
" Let no one think himself too wise, and disdain such 
child's play. When Christ wished to teach men, he 
became a man. If we are to teach children, we must 
become children. Would to God we had more of this 
child's play ! We should then see in a short time a 
great treasure of Christian people, souls rich in the 
Scriptures and in the knowledge of God." 

The value of concrete examples to illustrate and 
enforce abstract truth was clearly recognized by 
Luther. He recommends that in the explanation of 
his Catechisms many illustrations be drawn from the 
Scriptures. The utility of history consists partly in 
its serving to illustrate abstract statements and princi- 
ples. " The celebrated Roman, Varro," Luther says 
in an interesting passage, " affirms that the best way 
to teach is to unite examples with words. This re- 
sults in a clearer apprehension of what is taught, and 
secures also its better retention; otherwise, when 


statements are heard without examples, no matter how 
good the doctrine may be, the heart is not so deeply 
moved, and the subject is not so clearly understood 
nor so firmly retained. Therefore, history is very val- 
uable. For whatever philosophy or reason teaches, 
that history supplies with illustrations, and portrays, 
as it were, before our eyes what the words convey to 
the ear. We there see how the good and the wise 
have lived, and how they have been rewarded ; and 
also how the wicked and the ignorant have done, and 
how they have been punished." 

Luther set great store by the ancient languages, not 
indeed for their superiority as an educational gymnas- 
tic, but for their utility in the service of the Church. 
In the " Letter to the Mayors and Aldermen," he dis- 
cusses the matter fully. He esteems the ancient lan- 
guages for their aid in understanding the Scriptures, 
and in carrying on the government. It was through 
them that the Gospel had been restored to the world 
in its purity, and through them it was to be preserved 
and extended. Elsewhere he says: "I do not hold 
with those who give themselves to one language, and 
despise all others. For I should like to bring up such 
people as can be of use to Christ in foreign lands, that 
it may not go with us as with the Waldenses in Bo- 
hemia, who confined their doctrine to their own Ian- 


guage in such a way, that no one could clearly under- 
stand them without first learning their language. But 
the Holy Spirit acted differently; He did not wait till 
all the world came to Jerusalem and learned Hebrew, 
but He bestowed the gift of tongues upon the apostles, 
so that they could speak wherever they came. I pre- 
fer to follow this example, and hold it proper to exer- 
cise the young in many languages ; for who knows 
how God may use them? For this purpose also 
schools are established." While emphasizing thus the 
importance of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, in the inter- 
ests of religion, Luther was also a great teacher of 
his native language. He introduced it into public 
worship, and encouraged the establishment of primary 
schools in which it was employed. Through his ser- 
mons, books, hymns, and especially his translation of 
the Bible, he gave the German language a literary 
form, and laid the basis of its cultivation and devel- 
opment. A few years after his death, John Clajus 
published a German grammar, in which the Reformer's 
language was taken as the standard. 

In regard to the best methods of teaching lan- 
guages, Luther laid down principles that are recog- 
nized as fundamental in modern educational science. 
In addition to the study of grammar, he calls attention 
to the value of practice, and distinguishes between a 


knowledge of words and a knowledge of things. The 
following extract is worthy of special attention : 
" Every one learns German or other languages much 
better from talking at home, at the market, or in the 
church, than from books. Printed words are dead, 
spoken words are living. On the printed page they 
are not so forcible as when uttered by the soul of man 
through the mouth. Tell me, where has there ever 
been a language that one could learn to speak 
properly from the grammar? Is it not true that even 
the languages that have the most clearly defined 
rules, as the Latin and the Greek, can be better 
learned from practice and habit than from rules? . . . 
The science of grammar teaches and shows what 
words are called and what they mean ; but we should 
first of all learn the thing itself. Whoever is to 
preach and teach must know beforehand what a thing 
is and what it is called; but grammar teaches only the 
last. Knowledge is of two kinds — one of words, and 
the other of things. Whoever has no knowledge of 
the things will not be helped by a knowledge of the 
words. It is an old proverb that * one can not speak 
well of what one does not understand.' Of this truth 
our age has furnished many examples. For many 
learned and eloquent men have uttered foolish and 
ridiculous things in speaking of what they did not 


understand. But whoever thoroughly understands a 
matter will speak wisely and reach the heart, though 
he may be wanting in eloquence and readiness 
of speech. Thus Cato surpassed Cicero when he 
spoke in council, though his language was simple and 
unadorned. A knowledge of words or grammar be- 
comes easier when the subject in hand is understood, 
as Horace also teaches. But when a knowledge of 
the subject is wanting, then a knowledge of words is 
useless. I do not wish to be understood as rejecting 
grammar, which is necessary; but this I say: if the 
subject is not studied along with the grammar, one 
will never become a good teacher. For as some one 
has said, the teacher's or preacher's discourse should 
be born, not in his mouth, but in his heart." 

Luther approved of rhetoric and dialectic, an old 
name for the practical part of logic. In both he was 
himself a master, as is abundantly evident from his 
writings. "Dialectic instructs," he says, "and rhetoric 
moves ; the former appeals to the understanding, the 
latter to the will." But logic can not supply knowl- 
edge, it only shows us how to use it. " It does not 
give us the power to speak of all subjects, but is 
simply an instrument, by which we can speak cor- 
rectly and methodically of what we already know and 
understand." Simple language is best. " One should 


accustom himself to good, honest, intelligible words, 
which are in common use and serve to elucidate the 
subject — a gift that comes from the grace of God. 
Many would-be scholars purposely obscure a subject 
with odd, unusual, and high-flown words, and seek a 
new style of discourse, which is yet so ambiguous and 
unintelligible that it can be understood as one pleases." 
Luther looked upon history, not simply as a source 
of illustration for moral and philosophic truth — a ben- 
efit spoken of in a passage already quoted — but also 
as a portrayal of God's wonderful dealings with men 
and a leading source of human knowledge. He 
spoke in strong terms of its importance. When urg- 
ing in his " Letter to the Mayors and Aldermen " the 
establishment of libraries, he said: "A prominent 
place should be given to chronicles and histories, in 
whatever languages they may be obtained ; for they 
are wonderfully useful in understanding and regulating 
the course of the world, and in disclosing the marvel- 
ous works of God." Elsewhere he says more at 
length : " When one thoroughly considers the matter, 
it is from history, as from a living fountain, that have 
flowed all laws, sciences, counsel, warning, threaten- 
ings, comfort, strength, instruction, foresight, knowl- 
edge, wisdom, and all the virtues; that is to say, his- 
tory is nothing else than an indication, recollection, 


and monument of divine works and judgments, show- 
ing how God maintains, governs, hinders, advances, 
punishes, and honors men, according as each one has 
deserved good or evil. And although there are 
many who do not recognize and regard God, yet 
must they take warning from history, and fear that it 
may go with them as with many a one therein por- 
trayed, whereby they are moved more than by mere 
admonition in words; as we read not alone in the 
Holy Scriptures, but also in heathen books, how men 
introduced and held up the examples, words, and 
works of their ancestors, when they wished to accom- 
plish something with the multitude, or to teach, ad- 
monish, warn, or terrify. 

"Therefore historians are most useful people and 
most excellent teachers, whom we can never suffi- 
ciently honor, praise, and thank, and it should be a 
care of our great lords, as emperors and kings, to have 
histories of their times written and preserved in libra- 
ries, and they should spare no expense to procure per- 
sons capable of teaching. . . . But it requires a super- 
ior man to write history, a man with a lion-heart, who 
dares without fear to speak the truth. For most men 
write in such a way, that, according to the wishes of 
their rulers or friends, they pass over the vices or de- 
generacy of their times, or put the best construction 


upon them; on the other hand, through partiality 
for their fatherland and hostility to foreigners, they 
unduly magnify insignificant virtues, and eulogize or 
defame according to their preferences or prejudices. 
In this way histories become beyond measure un- 
trustworthy, and God's work is obscured. Since his- 
tory describes nothing else than the ways of God, that 
is, grace and anger, which we should believe as if they 
stood in Scripture, it ought to be written with ex- 
treme care, fidelity, and truth."* 

Luther's attitude to the world of nature is full of in- 
terest, and exhibits both his independence of character 
and genuineness of feeling. He was brought up in 
schools in which, according to the methods of the 
Middle Ages, nature was studied, not by observing 
the earth, air, and skies, but by perusing the works of 
Aristotle and Pliny. It was the reign of words, not 
of things. Luther's great sympathetic heart could 
not be satisfied with this narrowness. His eyes 
were open to the beauty about him, and he beheld 
with tenderness the chattering birds, and the grow- 
ing plants. His life was not abstraction, but observa- 
tion. His style is concrete, full of images of things 
about him, and of words of the common people. He 

♦Vorrede D. M. L. auf die Historia Galeatii Capellae vom 
Herzog zu Mailand. 1538. 


recognized the intrinsic worth of the natural sciences, 
and in a passage exhibiting a truly prophetic spirit, he 
says : " We are at the dawn of a new era, for we are 
beginning to recover the knowledge of the external 
world that we had lost through the fall of Adam. 
We now observe creatures properly, and not as for- 
merly under the Papacy. Erasmus is indifferent, and 
does not care to know how fruit is developed from 
the germ. But by the grace of God we already 
recognize in the most delicate flower the wonders of 
divine goodness and omnipotence. We see in His 
creatures the power of His word. He commanded, 
and the thing stood fast. See that force display itself 
in the stone of a peach. It is very hard, and the 
germ it encloses is very tender; but, when the mo- 
ment has come, the stone must open to let out the 
young plant that God calls into life. Erasmus passes 
by all that, takes no account of it, and looks upon ex- 
ternal objects as cows look upon a new gate." In 
this passage is foreshadowed the wide-reaching doc- 
trine of Comenius — a doctrine very potent in mould- 
ing modern education : " Why shall we not, instead 
of dead books, open the living book of nature? Not 
the shadows of things, but the things themselves, 
which make an impression on the senses and imag- 
ination, are to be brought before youth. By actual 


observation, not by a verbal description of things, 
must instruction begin. From such observation de- 
velops a certain knowledge. Men must be led as far 
as possible to draw their wisdom not from books, but 
from a consideration of heaven and earth, oaks and 
beeches ; that is, they must know and examine things 
themselves, and not simply be contented with the ob- 
servation and testimony of others."* 

Luther's love for music was remarkable. He had 
a good voice, and played skillfully on the guitar and 
flute. Among the loveliest scenes in his happy home 
at Wittenberg are those in which, in company with 
chosen friends, he sought recreation from his arduous 
labors in the holy joys of sacred song. The tributes 
he paid to music are many and beautiful. He desired 
the young to be diligently exercised in vocal and in- 
strumental music, and insisted on musical attainments 
as an indispensable qualification in the teacher. His 
influence on the musical culture of Germany is im- 
portant. By means of suitable hymns and tunes, 
many of which he composed himself, he popularized 
Church music and enabled worshiping congregations 
to unite in the singing. In the schools that were es- 
tablished under the influence of Luther and his co-ad- 
jutors, music formed a part of the regular course of 

* Painter, History of Education, p. 209. 


instruction. It was honored not only as a useful ad- 
junct in public worship, but also as a source of benefi- 
cent influence upon the character and life. The fol- 
lowing passages — a few out of many — will serve to 
show Luther's regard for music. " Satan is a great 
enemy to music. It is a good antidote against temp- 
tation and evil thoughts. The devil does not stay 
long where it is practiced." " Music is the best cor- 
dial to a person in sadness; it soothes, quickens, and 
refreshes his heart." " Music is a semi-disciplinarian 
and school- master; it makes men more gentle and 
tender-hearted, more modest and discreet." " I have 
always loved music. He that is skilled in this art is 
possessed of good qualities, and can be employed in 
anything. Music must of necessity be retained in the 
schools. A school-master must be able to sing, 
otherwise I will hear nothing of him." " Music is a 
delightful, noble gift of God, and nearly related to 
theolog}''. I would not give what little skill I possess 
in music for something great. The young are to be 
continually exercised in this art; it makes good and 
skillful people of them." "With those that despise 
music, as all fanatics are wont to do, I am not 
pleased; for music is a gift bestowed by God and not 
by man. So it also banishes Satan, and renders men 
joyful; it causes men to forget all wrath, uncharity. 


pride, and other vices. Next to theology, I esteem 
and honor music. And we see how David and all the 
saints clothed their pious thoughts in verses, rhymes, 
and songs ; because in times of peace music rules." 

Luther encouraged gymnastic exercises, which he 
regarded salutary both for the body and the soul. 
"It was well considered and arranged by the an- 
cients," he says, "that the people should practice 
gymnastics, in order that they might not fall into rev- 
elling, unchastity, gluttony, intemperance and gaming. 
Therefore these two exercises and pastimes please me 
best, namely, music and gymnastics, of which the first 
drives away all care and melancholy from the heart, 
and the latter produces elasticity of the body and pre- 
serves the health. But a great reason for their prac- 
tice is that people may not fall into gluttony, licen- 
tiousness, and gambling, as is the case, alas ! at courts 
and in cities. Thus it goes when such honorable 
and manly bodily exercises are neglected." 

We leave it to the two treatises presented in the 
following chapters to supply what is lacking in this 
survey of Luther's pedagogy. Looking back over the 
ground traversed, we realize that the great Reformer 
accomplished scarcely less for education than for re- 
ligion. Through his influence, which was fundamen- 
tal, wide-reaching, and beneficent, there began for the 


one as for the other a new era of advancement Let 
us note a few particulars: 

1. In his writings, as in the principles of Protestant- 
ism, he laid the foundation of an educational system, 
which begins with the popular school and ends with 
the university. 

2. He set up as the noble ideal of education a 
Christian man, fitted through instruction and disci- 
pline to discharge the duties of every relation of life. 

3. He exhibited the necessity of schools both for 
the Church and the State, and emphasized the dignity 
and worth of the teacher's vocation. 

4. With resistless energy he impressed upon par- 
ents, ministers, and civil officers their obligation to 
educate the young. 

5. He brought about a re-organization of schools, 
introducing graded instruction, an improved course 
of study, and rational methods. 

6. In his appreciation of nature and of child-life, he 
laid the foundation for educational science. 

7. He made great improvements in method; he 
sought to adapt instruction to the capacity of chil- 
dren, to make learning pleasant, to awaken mind 
through skillful questioning, to study things as well 
as words, and to temper discipline with love. 

8. With a wise understanding of the relation of 


virtue and intelligence to the general good, he advo- 
cated compulsory education on the part of the State. 

In view of these facts, Luther deserves henceforth to 
be recognized as the greatest, not only of religious, 
but ot educational reformers. 





GRACE and peace from God our Father and the 
Lord Jesus Christ. Honored and dear Sirs: 
Having three years ago been put under the ban and 
outlawed, I should have kept silent, had I regarded 
the command of men more than that of God. Many 
persons in Germany both of high and low estate as- 
sail my discourses and writings on that account, and 
shed much blood over them. But God who has 
opened my mouth and bidden me speak, stands firmly 
by me, and without any counsel or effort of mine 
strengthens and extends my cause the more, the more 
they rage, and seems, as the second Psalm says, to 
"have them in derision." By this alone any one not 
blinded by prejudice may see that the work is of 
God; for it exhibits the divine method, according to 
which God's cause spreads most rapidly when men 
exert themselves most to oppose and suppress it. 
Therefore, as Isaiah says, I will not hold my peace 
8 (169) 


until the righteousness of Christ go forth as brightness, 
and his salvation as a lamp that burneth.* And I be- 
seech you all, in the name of God and of our neglected 
youth, kindly to receive my letter and admonition, and 
give it thoughtful consideration. For whatever I may 
be in myself, I can boast with a clear conscience before 
God that I am not seeking my own interest, (which 
would be best served by silence,) but the interest of all 
Germany, according to the mission, (doubt it who will,) 
with which God has honored me. And I wish to de- 
clare to you frankly and confidently that if you hear 
me, you hear not me but Christ; and whoever will 
not hear me, despises not me but Christ.f For I 
know the truth of what I declare and teach ; and every 
one who rightly considers my doctrine will realize its 
truth for himself 

First of all we see how the schools are deteriorating 
throughout Germany. The universities are becoming 
weak, the monasteries are declining, and, as Isaiah 
says, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because 
the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it,"t through the 
Gospel. For through the word of God the unchris- 
tian and sensual character of these institutions is be- 

*An adaptation of Isaiah Ixii. i. 
t A reference to Luke x. i6. 
X Isaiah xl. 7. 


coming known. And because selfish parents see that 
they can no longer place their children upon the 
bounty of monasteries and cathedrals, they refuse to 
educate them. "Why should we educate our chil- 
dren," they say, " if they are not to become priests, 
monks, and nuns, and thus earn a support?" 

The hollow piety and selfish aims of such persons 
are sufficiently evident from their own confession. 
For if they sought anything more than the temporal 
welfare of their children in monasteries and the priest- 
hood, if they were deeply in earnest to secure the sal- 
vation and blessedness of their children, they would 
not lose interest in education and say, " if the priestly 
office is abolished, we will not send our children to 
school." But they would speak after this manner; 
" if it is true, as the Gospel teaches, that such a calling 
is dangerous to our children, teach us another way in 
which they may be pleasing to God and become truly 
blessed; for we wish to provide not alone for the 
bodies of our children, but also for their souls." 
Such would be the language of faithful Christian 

It is no wonder that the devil meddles in the mat- 
ter, and influences groveling hearts to neglect the 
children and the youth of the country. Who can 
blame him for it ? He is the prince and god of this 


world,* and with extreme displeasure sees the Gospel 
destroy his nurseries of vice, the monasteries and 
priesthood, in which he corrupts the young beyond 
measure, a work upon which his mind is especially 
bent. How could he consent to a proper training of 
the young? Truly he would be a fool if he permitted 
such a thing in his kingdom, and thus consented to 
its overthrow: which indeed would happen, if the 
young should escape him, and be brought up to the 
service of God. 

Hence he acted wisely at the time when Christians 
were educating and bringing up their children in a 
Christian way. Inasmuch as the youth of the land 
would have thus escaped him, and inflicted an irrepar- 
able injury upon his kingdom, he went to work and 
spread his nets, established such monasteries, schools, 
and orders, that it was not possible for a boy to escape 
him without the miraculous intervention of God But 
now that he sees his snares exposed through the 
Word of God, he takes an opposite course, and dis- 
suades men from all education whatever. He thus 
pursues a wise course to maintain his kingdom and 
win the youth of Germany. And if he secures them, 
if they grow up under his influence and remain his ad- 
herents, who can gain any advantage over him? He 

*A reference to John xiv. 30. 


retains an easy and peaceful mastery over the world. 
For any fatal wound to his cause must come through 
the young, who, brought up in the knowledge of God, 
spread abroad the truth and instruct others. 

Yet no one thinks of this dreadful purpose of the 
devil, which is being worked out so quietly that it 
escapes observation; and soon the evil will be so far 
advanced that we can do nothing to prevent it 
People fear the Turks, wars, and floods, for in such 
matters they can see what is injurious or beneficial; 
but what the devil has in mind no one sees or fears. 
Yet where we would give a florin to defend ourselves 
against the Turks, we should give a hundred florins to 
protect us against ignorance, even if only one boy 
could be taught to be a truly Christian man ; for the 
good such a man can accomplish is beyond all compu- 

^ Therefore I beg you all, in the name of God and 
of our neglected youth, not to think of this subject 
lightly, as many do who see not what the prince of 
this world intends. For the right instruction of youth 
is a matter in which Christ and all the world are con- 
cerned. Thereby are we all aided. And consider that 
great Christian zeal is needed to overcome the silent, 
secret, and artful machinations of the devil. If we 
must annually expend large sums on muskets, roads. 


bridges, dams, and the like, in order that the city may 
have temporal peace and comfort, why should we not 
apply as much to our poor, neglected youth, in order 
that we may have a skillful school-master or two ? 

There is one consideration that should move every 
citizen, with devout gratitude to God, to contribute a 
part of his means to the support of schools — the con- 
sideration that if divine grace had not released him 
from exactions and robbery, he would still have to 
give large sums of money for indulgences, masses, 
vigils, endowments, anniversaries, mendicant friars, 
brotherhoods, and other similar impositions. And let 
him be sure that where turmoil and strife exist, there 
the devil is present, who did not writhe and struggle 
so long as men blindly contributed to convents and 
masses. For Satan feels that his cause is suffering 
injury. Let this, then, be the first consideration 
to move you, — that in this work we are fighting 
against the devil, the most artful and dangerous 
enemy of men. 

Another consideration is found in the fact that we 
should not, as St. Paul says, receive the grace of God 
in vain,* and neglect the present favorable time. For 
Almighty God has truly granted us Germans a gra- 
cious visitation, and favored us with a golden oppor- 

* 2 Cor. vi. I. 


tunity. We now have excellent and learned young 
men, adorned with every science and art, who, if they 
were employed, could be of great service as teachers. 
Is it not well known that a boy can now be so instructed 
in three years, that at the age of fifteen or eighteen he 
knows more than all the universities and convents 
have known heretofore ? Yea, what have men learned 
hitherto in the universities and monasteries, except to 
be asses and blockheads? Twenty, forty years, it has 
been necessary to study, and yet one has learned 
neither Latin nor German! I say nothing of the 
shameful and vicious life in those institutions, by 
which our worthy youth have been so lamentably 

I should prefer, it is true, that our youth be ignorant 
and dumb rather than that the universities and con- 
vents should remain as the only sources of instruction 
open to them. For it is my earnest intention, prayer 
and desire that these schools of Satan either be de- 
stroyed or changed into Christian schools. But since 
God has so richly favored us, and given us a great 
number of persons who are competent thoroughly to 
instruct and train our young people, it is truly needful 
that we should not disregard His grace and let Him 
knock in vain. He stands at the door; happy are we 
if we open to Him. He calls us; happy is the man who 


answers Him. If we disregard His call, so that He 
passes by, who will bring Him back? 

Let us consider the wretchedness of our former con- 
dition and the darkness in which we were enveloped. 
I believe Germany has never heard so much of the 
Word of God as at the present time ; history reveals no 
similar period. If we let the gracious season pass 
without gratitude and improvement, it is to be feared 
that we shall suffer still more terrible darkness and 
distress. My dear countrymen, buy while the market 
is at your door; gather the harvest while the sun 
shines and the weather is fair: use the grace and 
Word of God while they are near. For know this, 
that the Word and grace of God are like a passing 
shower, which does not return where it has once been. 
The Divine favor once rested upon the Jews, but it has 
departed. Paul brought the Gospel into Greece; but 
now they have the Turks. Rome and Italy once en- 
joyed its blessings ; but now they have the Pope. And 
the German people should not think that they will al- 
ways have it; for ingratitude and neglect will banish it. 
Therefore seize it and hold it fast, whoever can; idle 
hands will have an evil year. 

The third consideration is the highest of all, namely, 
God's command, which through Moses so often urges 
and enjoins that parents instruct their children, that 


the seventy-eighth Psalm says: "He established a 
testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, 
which he commanded our fathers that they should 
make them known to their children." And the fourth 
commandment also shows this, where he has so 
strictly enjoined children to obey their parents, that 
disobedient children were to be put to death. And 
why do old people live, except to care for, teach, and 
bring up the young ? It is not possible for inexper- 
ienced youth to instruct and care for themselves; and 
for that reason God has commended them to us who 
are older and know what is good for them, and He 
will require a strict account at our hands. Therefore 
Moses gives this injunction : "Ask thy father, and he 
will show thee ; thy elders, and they will tell thee." * 

It is indeed a sin and shame that we must be aroused 
and incited to the duty of educating our children and 
of considering their highest interests, whereas nature 
itself should move us thereto, and the example of the 
heathen affords us varied instruction. There is no 
irrational animal that does not care for and instruct its 
young in what they should know, except the ostrich, 
of which God says; " She leaveth her eggs in the earth, 
and warmeth them in the dust; and is hardened 
against her young ones, as though they were not 

8* *Deut. xxxii. 7. 


hers." * And what would it avail if we possessed and 
performed all else, and became perfect saints, if we 
neglect that for which we chiefly live, namely, to care 
for the young? In my judgment there is no other 
outward offense that in the sight of God so heavily 
burdens the world, and deserves such heavy chastise- 
ment, as the neglect to educate children. 

In my youth this proverb was current in the 
schools : " It is no less a sin to neglect a pupil than 
to do violence to a woman." It was used to frighten 
teachers. But how much lighter is this wrong 
against a woman (which as a bodily sin may be 
atoned for), than to neglect and dishonor immortal 
souls, when such a sin is not recognized and can 
never be atoned for? O eternal woe to the world! 
Children are daily born and grow up among us, and 
there are none, alas! who feel an interest in them; 
and instead of being trained, they are left to them- 
selves. The convents and cathedral schools are the 
proper agencies to do it; but to them we may apply 
the words of Christ : " Woe unto the world because 
of offenses! Whoso shall offend one of these little 
ones which believe in me, it were better for him that 
a mill- stone were hanged about his neck, and that he 

♦Job xxxix. 14, 16. 


were drowned in the depth of the sea."* They are 
nothing but destroyers of children. 

But all that, you say, is addressed to parents ; what 
does it concern the members of the council and the 
mayors? That is true; but how, if parents neglect 
it? Who shall attend to it then? Shall we therefore 
let it alone, and suffer the children to be neglected ? 
How will the mayors and council excuse themselves, 
and prove that such a duty does not belong to them? 

Parents neglect this duty from various causes. 

In the first place, there are some who are so lacking 
in piety and uprightness that they would not do it if 
they could, but like the ostrich, harden themselves 
against their own offspring, and do nothing for them. 
Nevertheless these children must live among us and 
with us. How then can reason and, above all, Chris- 
tian charity, suffer them to grow up ill-bred, and to in- 
fect other children, till at last the whole city be de- 
stroyed, like Sodom, Gomorrah, and some other cities ? 

In the second place, the great majority of parents 
are unqualified for it, and do not understand how 
children should be brought up and taught. For they 
have learned nothing but to provide for their bodily 
wants; and in order to teach and train children 
thoroughly, a separate class is needed. 

* Matt, xviii. 6, 7. 


In the third place, even if parents were qualified and 
willing to do it themselves, yet on account of other 
employments a*nd household duties they have no time 
for it, so that necessity requires us to have teachers for 
public schools, unless each parent employ a private 
instructor. But that would be too expensive foi 
persons of ordinary means, and many a bright boy, on 
account of poverty, would be neglected. Besides, 
many parents die and leave orphans; and how they 
are usually cared for by guardians, we might learn, 
even if observation were not enough, from the sixty- 
eighth Psalm, where God calls himself the " Father of 
the fatherless," as of those who are neglected by all 
others. Also theie are some who have no children, 
and therefore feel no interest in them. 

Therefore it will be the duty of the mayors and 
council to exercise the greatest care over the young. 
For since the happiness, honor, and life of the city are 
committed to their hands, they would be held recreant 
before God and the world, if they did not, day and 
night, with all their power, seek its welfare and im- 
provement. Now the welfare of a city does not con- 
sist alone in great treasures, firm walls, beautiful 
houses, and munitions of war; indeed, where all these 
are found, and reckless fools come into power, the city 
sustains the greater injury. But the highest welfare, 


safety, and power of a city consists in able, learned, 
wise, upright, cultivated citizens, who can secure, pre- 
serve, and utilize every treasure and advantage. 

In ancient Rome the boys were so brought up that 
at the age of fifteen, eighteen, twenty, they were 
masters not only of the choicest Latin and Greek, but 
also of the liberal arts, as they are called ; and imme- 
diately after this scholastic training, they entered the 
army or held a position under the government. Thus 
they became intelligent, wise, and excellent men, 
skilled in every art and rich in experience, so that all 
the bishops, priests, and monks in Germany put 
together would not equal a Roman soldier. Conse- 
quently their country prospered; persons were found 
capable and skilled in every pursuit. Thus, in all the 
world, even among the heathen, school-masters and 
teachers have been found necessary where a nation was 
to be elevated. Hence in the Epistle to the Galatians 
Paul employs a word in common use when he says, 
"The law was our school-^master !' * 

Since, then, a city must have well-trained people, 
and since the greatest need, lack, and lament is that 
such are not to be found, we must not wait till they 
grow up of themselves; neither can they be hewed 
out of stones nor cut out of wood ; nor will God work 

*Gal. iii. 24. 


miracles, so long as men can attain their object 
through means within their reach. Therefore we 
must see to it, and spare no trouble or expense to 
educate and form them ourselves. For whose fault is 
it that in all the cities there are at present so few 
skillful people except the rulers, who have allowed 
the young to grow up like trees in the forest, and 
have not cared how they were reared and taught? 
The growth, consequently, has been so irregular that 
the forest furnishes no timber for building purposes, 
but like a useless hedge, is good only for fuel. 

Yet there must be civil government. For us, then, 
to permit ignoramuses and blockheads to rule when 
we can prevent it, is irrational and barbarous. Let us 
rather make rulers out of swine and wolves, and set 
them over people who are indifferent to the manner in 
which they are governed. It is barbarous for men to 
think thus : " We will now rule ; and what does it con- 
cern us how those fare who shall come after us?" 
Not over human beings, but over swine and dogs 
should such people rule, who think only of their own 
interests and honor in governing. Even if we exer- 
cise the greatest care to educate able, learned and 
skilled rulers, yet much care and effort are necessary 
in order to secure prosperity. How can a city pros- 
per, when no effort is made? 


But, you say again, if we shall and must have 
schools, what is the use to teach Latin, Greek, 
Hebrew, and the other liberal arts? Is it not enough 
to teach the Scriptures, which are necessary to salva- 
tion, in the mother tongue? To which I answer: I 
know, alas! that we Germans must always remain 
irrational brutes, as we are deservedly called by 
surrounding nations. But I wonder why we do not 
also say: of what use to us are silk, wine, spices, and 
other foreign articles, since we ourselves have an 
abundance of wine, corn, wool, flax, wood, and stone 
in the German states, not only for our necessities, but 
also for embellishment and ornament? The languages 
and other liberal arts, which are not only harmless, 
but even a greater ornament, benefit, and honor than 
these things, both for understanding the Holy Scrip- 
tures and carrying on the civil government, we are 
disposed to despise; and the foreign articles which 
are neither necessary nor useful, and which besides 
greatly impoverish us, we are unwilling to dispense 
with. Are we not rightly called German dunces and 
brutes ? 

Indeed, if the languages were of no practical benefit, 
we ought still to feel an interest in them as a wonder- 
ful gift of God, with which he has now blessed Ger- 
many almost beyond all other lands. We do not find 


many instances in which Satan has fostered them 
through the universities and cloisters; on the con- 
trary, these institutions have fiercly inveighed and 
continue to inveigh against them. For the devil 
scented the danger that would threaten his kingdom, 
if the languages should be generally studied. But 
since he could not wholly prevent their cultiva- 
tion, he aims at least to confine them within such 
narrow limits, that they will of themselves decline and 
fall into disuse. They are to him no welcome guest, 
and consequently he shows them scant courtesy in 
order that they may not remain long. This malicious 
trick of Satan is perceived by very few. 

Therefore, my beloved countrymen, let us open our 
eyes, thank God for this precious treasure, and take 
pains to preserve it, and to frustrate the design of 
Satan. For we cannot deny that, although the Gospel 
has come and daily comes through the Holy Spirit, it 
has come by means of the languages, and through 
them must increase and be preserved. For when God 
wished through the apostles to spread the Gospel 
abroad in all the world, he gave the languages for that 
purpose ; and by means of the Roman empire he 
made Latin and Greek the language of many lands, 
that his Gospel might speedily bear fruit far and wide. 
He has done the same now. For a time no one under- 


stood why God had revived the study of the languages ; 
but now we see that it was for the sake of the Gospel, 
which he wished to bring to light and thereby expose 
and destroy the reign of Antichrist. For the same 
reason he gave Greece a prey to the Turks, in order 
that Greek scholars, driven from home and scattered 
abroad, might bear the Greek tongue to other 
countries, and thereby excite an interest in the study 
of languages. 

In the same measure that the Gospel is dear to us, 
should we zealously cherish the languages. For God 
had a purpose in giving the Scriptures only in two 
languages, the Gld Testament in the Hebrew, and the 
New Testament in the Greek. What God did not 
despise, but chose before all others for His Word, we 
should likewise esteem above all others. St. Paul, in 
the third chapter of Romans, points out, as a special 
honor and advantage of the Hebrew language, that 
God's Word was given in it : " What profit is there of 
circumcision? Much every way; chiefly because that 
unto them were committed the oracles of God." * 
Likewise King David boasts in the one hundred and 
forty-seventh Psalm: "He showeth his word unto 
Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He 
hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his 

* Rom. iii. i, 2. 


judgments, they have not known them." * Hence the 
Hebrew language is called sacred. And St. Paul, in 
Romans i. 2, speaks of the Hebrew Scriptures as holy, 
no doubt because of the Word of God which they con- 
tain. In like manner the Greek language might well 
be called holy, because it was chosen, in preference to 
others, as the language of the New Testament. And 
from this language, as from a fountain, the New Testa- 
ment has flowed through translations into other lan- 
guages, and sanctified them also. 

And let this be kept in mind, that we will not pre- 
serve the Gospel without the languages. The langua- 
ges are the scabbard in which the Word of God is 
sheathed. They are the casket in which this jewel is 
enshrined ; the cask in which this wine is kept ; the 
chamber in which this food is stored. And, to borrow 
a figure from the Gospel itself, they are the baskets in 
which this bread, and fish, and fragments are preserved. 
If through neglect we lose the languages (which may 
God forbid), we will not only lose the Gospel, but it 
will finally come to pass that we will lose also the 
ability to speak and write either Latin or German. Of 
this let us take as proof and warning the miserable and 
shocking example presented in the universities and 
cloisters, in which not only the Gospel has been per- 

♦Psalm cxlvii. 19, 20. 


verted, but also the Latin and German languages have 
been corrupted, so that the wretched inmates have be- 
come like brutes, unable to speak and write German 
or Latin, and have almost lost their natural reason. 

The apostles considered it necessary to embody the 
New Testament in the Greek language, in order, no 
doubt, that it might be securely preserved unto us as 
in a sacred shrine. For they foresaw what has since 
taken place, namely, that when the divine revelation is 
left to oral tradition, much disorder and confusion arise 
from conflicting opinions and doctrines. And there 
would be no way to prevent this evil and to protect 
the simple-minded, if the New Testament was not defi- 
nitely recorded in writing. Therefore it is evident 
that where the languages are not preserved, there the 
Gospel will become corrupted. 

Experience shows this to be true. For immediately 
after the age of the apostles, when the languages 
ceased to be cultivated, the Gospel, and the true faith, 
and Christianity itself, declined more and more, until 
they were entirely lost under the Pope. And since 
the time that the languages disappeared, not much 
that is noteworthy and excellent has been seen in the 
Church; but through ignorance of the languages very 
many shocking abominations have arisen. On the 
other hand, since the revival of learning, such a light 


has been shed abroad, and such important changes 
have taken place, that the world is astonished, and 
must acknowledge that we have the Gospel almost as 
pure and unadulterated as it was in the times of the 
apostles, and much purer than it was in the days of 
St. Jerome and St. Augustine. In a word, since the 
Holy Ghost, who does nothing foolish or useless, has 
often bestowed the gift of tongues, it is our evident 
duty earnestly to cultivate the languages, now that 
God has restored them to the world through the 
revival of learning. 

But many of the church fathers, you say, have be- 
come saints and have taught without a knowledge of 
the languages. That is true. But to what do you 
attribute their frequent misunderstanding of the Scrip- 
tures? How often is St. Augustine in error in the 
Psalms and in other expositions, as well as Hilary, 
and indeed all those who have undertaken to explain 
the Scriptures without an acquaintance with the 
original tongues? And if perchance they have taught 
correct doctrine, they have not been sure of the 
application to be made of particular passages. For 
example, it is truly said that Christ is the Son of God. 
But what mockery does it seem to adversaries when 
as proof of that doctrine Psalm ex. 3 is adduced: 
** Tecum principium in die virtutis" since in the 


Hebrew no reference is made in that verse to the 
Deity. When the faith is thus defended with un- 
certain reasons and proof-texts, does it not seem a 
disgrace and mockery in the eyes of such adversaries 
as are acquainted with the Greek and the Hebrew? 
And they are only rendered the more obstinate in 
their error, and with good ground hold our faith as a 
human delusion. 

What is the reason that our faith is thus brought 
into disgrace? It is our ignorance of the languages; 
and the only remedy is a knowledge of them. Was 
not St. Jerome forced to make a new translation of 
the Psalms from the Hebrew, because the Jews, when 
quotations were made from the Latin version, derided 
the Christians, affirming that the passages adduced 
were not found in the original ? The comments of all 
the ancient fathers who, without a knowledge of the 
languages, have treated of the Scriptures (although 
they may teach nothing heretical), are still of such a 
character that the writers often employ uncertain, 
doubtful, and inappropriate expressions, and grope 
like a blind man along a wall, so that they often miss 
the sense of the text and mould it according to their 
pious fancy, as in the example mentioned in the last 
paragraph. St. Augustine himself was obliged to 
confess that the Christian teacher, in addition to Latin, 


should be acquainted with Hebrew and Greek. 
Without this knowledge, the expositor will inevitably 
fall into mistakes; and even when the languages are 
understood, he will meet with difficulties. 

With a simple preacher of the faith it is different 
from what it is with the expositor of the Scriptures, 
or prophet, as St. Paul calls him. The former has so 
many clear passages and texts in translations, that he 
is able to understand and preach Christ, and lead a 
holy life. But to explain the Scriptures, to deal with 
them independently, and oppose heretical interpreters, 
such a one is too weak without a knowledge of the 
languages. But we need just such expositors, who 
will give themselves to the study and interpretation 
of the Scriptures, and who are able to controvert 
erroneous doctrines; for a pious life and orthodox 
teaching are not alone sufficient. Therefore the lan- 
guages are absolutely necessary, as well as prophets 
or expositors ; but it is not necessary that every Chris- 
tian or preacher be such a prophet, according to the 
diversity of gifts of which St. Paul speaks in i Corin- 
thians xii. 8, 9, and in Ephesians iv. ii. 

This explains why, since the days of the apostles, 
the Scriptures have remained in obscurity, and no 
reliable and enduring expositions have anywhere been 
written. For even the holy fathers, as we have said, 


are often in error, and because they were not versed 
in the languages, they seldom agree. St. Bernard 
was a man of great ability, so that I am inclined to 
place him above all other distinguished teachers, 
whether ancient or modern ; but how often he trifles 
with the Scriptures, in a spiritual manner to be sure, 
and wrests them from their true meaning! For the 
same reason the Papists have said that the Scriptures 
are of obscure and peculiar import. But they do not 
perceive that the trouble lies in ignorance of the 
languages ; but for this, nothing simpler has ever been 
spoken than the Word of God. A Turk must indeed 
speak unintelligibly to me, although a Turkish child 
of seven years understands him, because I am un- 
acquainted with the language. 

Hence it is foolish to attempt to learn the Scrip- 
tures through the comments of the fathers and the 
study of many books and glosses. For that purpose 
we ought to give ourselves to the languages. For the 
beloved fathers, because they were not versed in the 
languages, have often failed, in spite of their verbose 
expositions, to give the meaning of the text. You 
peruse their writings with great toil ; and yet with a 
knowledge of the languages you can get the meaning 
of Scripture better than they do. For in comparison 
with the glosses of the fathers, the languages are as 
sunlight to darkness. 


Since, then, it behooves Christians at all times to 
use the Bible as their only book and to be thoroughly 
acquainted with it, especially is it a disgrace and sin 
at the present day not to learn the languages, when 
God provides every facility, incites us to study, and 
wishes to have His word known. O how glad the 
honored fathers would have been, if they could have 
learned the languages, and had such access to the 
Holy Scriptures! With what pain and toil they 
scarcely obtained crumbs, while almost without effort 
we are able to secure the whole loaf! O how their 
industry shames our idleness, yea, how severely will 
God punish our neglect and ingratitude ! 

St. Paul, in i. Corinthians xiv. 29,* enjoins that 
there be judgment upon doctrine — a duty that re- 
quires a knowledge of the languages. For the 
preacher or teacher may publicly read the whole 
Bible as he chooses, right or wrong, if there be no 
one present to judge whether he does it correctly or 
not. But if one is to judge, there must be an ac- 
quaintance with the languages; otherwise, the judging 
will be in vain. Hence, although faith and the Gos- 
pel may be preached by ordinary ministers without 
the languages, still such preaching is sluggish and 

♦Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other 


weak, and the people finally become weary, and fall 
away. But a knowledge of the languages renders it 
lively and strong, and faith finds itself constantly re- 
newed through rich and varied instruction. In the 
first Psalm the Scriptures liken such study to " a tree 
planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its 
fruit in its season ; its leaf also shall not wither." 

We should not allow ourselves to be deceived be- 
cause there are some who, while setting little store by 
the Scriptures, boast of the Spirit. Some also, like 
the Waldenses, do not regard the languages useful. 
But, dear friend, whatever such persons may say, I 
have also been in the Spirit, and have seen more of 
His power (if it is allowable to boast of one's self), 
than they will see in a year, however much they may 
vaunt themselves. I have also been able to accom- 
plish somewhat, while they have remained without in- 
fluence, and done little more than boast. I know 
full well that the Spirit does almost everything. Still 
I should have failed in my work, if the languages had 
not come to my aid, and made me strong and immov- 
able in the Scriptures. I might without them have 
been pious, and preached the Gospel in obscurity; 
but I could not have disturbed the Pope, his adher- 
ents, and all the reign of Antichrist. The devil 
cares less for the Spirit within me than for my pen 


and linguistic knowledge. For while the Spirit takes 
nothing but myself away from him, the Holy Scrip- 
tures and the languages drive him from the world and 
break up his kingdom. 

I can not praise the Waldenses for depreciating the 
languages. For although they taught no heresies, yet 
they often necessarily failed in their proof-texts, and 
remained unqualified and unskilled to contend against 
error for the true faith. Besides, their teaching is so 
unenlightened, and presented in such peculiar forms, 
not following the language of Scripture, that I fear it 
will not continue pure. For it is dangerous to speak 
of divine things in a manner or in words different from 
those employed in the Scriptures. In brief, they may 
lead holy lives and teach among themselves ; but be- 
cause they are without the languages, they will lack 
what others have lacked, namely, an assured and 
thorough handling of the Scriptures, and the ability to 
be useful to other nations. And because they could 
have done this, and would not, they will have an ac 
count to render before God for their neglect. 

So much for the utility and necessity of the Ian 
guages, and of Christian schools for our spiritual inter- 
ests and the salvation of the soul. Let us now con- 
sider the body and inquire: though there were no 
soul, nor heaven, nor hell, but only the civil govern- 


mcnt, would not this require good schools and learned 
men more than do our spiritual interests? Hitherto 
the Papists have taken no interest in civil government, 
and have conducted the schools so entirely in the 
interests of the priesthood, that it has become a matter 
of reproach for a learned man to marry, and he has 
been forced to hear remarks like this : " Behold, he 
has become a man of the world, and cares nothing for 
the clerical state," just as if the priestly order were 
alone acceptable to God, and the secular classes, as 
they are called, belonged to Satan, and were unchris- 
tian. But in the sight of God, the former rather 
belong to Satan, while the despised masses (as hap- 
pened to the people of Israel in the Babylonian 
captivity) remain in the land and in right relations 
with God. 

It is not necessary to say here that civil government 
is a divine institution ; of that I have elsewhere said so 
much, that I hope no one has any doubts on the sub- 
ject. The question is, how are we to get able and 
skillful rulers ? And here we are put to shame by the 
heathen, who in ancient times, especially the Greeks 
and Romans, without knowing that civil government 
is a divine ordinance, yet instructed the boys and girls 
with such earnestness and industry that, when I think 
of it, I am ashamed of Christians, and especially of our 


Germans, who are such blockheads and brutes that 
they can say : " Pray, what is the use of schools, if one 
is not to become a priest?" Yet we know, or ought 
to know, how necessary and useful a thing it is, and 
how acceptable to God, when a prince, lord, counsel- 
lor, or other ruler, is well-trained and skillful in dis- 
charging, in a Christian way, the functions of his 

Even if there were no soul, (as I have already 
said,) and men did not need schools and the languages 
for the sake of Christianity and the Scriptures, still, 
for the establishment of the best schools everywhere, 
both for boys and girls, this consideration is of itself 
sufficient, namely, that society, for the maintenance of 
civil order and the proper regulation of the household, 
needs accomplished and well-trained men and women. 
Now such men are to come from boys, and such 
women from girls ; hence it is necessary that boys and 
girls be properly taught and brought up. As I have 
before said, the ordinary man is not qualified for this 
task, and can not, and will not do it. Princes and 
lords ought to do it ; but they spend their time in 
pleasure-driving, drinking, and folly, and are burdened 
with the weighty duties of the cellar, kitchen and bed- 
chamber. And though some would be glad to do it, 
they must stand in fear of the rest, lest they be taken 


for fools or heretics. Therefore, honored members of 
the city councils, this work must remain in your 
hands; you have more time and better opportunity for 
it than princes and lords. 

But each one, you say, may educate and discipline 
his own sons and daughters. To which I reply : We 
see indeed how it goes with this teaching and training. 
And where it is carried to the highest point, and is 
attended with success, it results in nothing more than 
that the learners, in some measure, acquire a forced 
external propriety of manner ; in other respects they 
remain dunces, knowing nothing, and incapable of 
giving aid or advice. But were they instructed in 
schools or elsewhere by thoroughly qualified male or 
female teachers, who taught the languages, other arts, 
and history, then the pupils would hear the history 
and maxims of the world, and see how things went 
with each city, kingdom, prince, man, and woman; 
and thus, in a short time, they would be able to com- 
prehend, as in a mirror, the character, life, counsels, 
undertakings, successes, and failures, of the whole 
world from the beginning. From this knowledge 
they could regulate their views, and order their course 
of life in the fear of God, having become wise in judg- 
ing what is to be sought and what avoided in this out- 
ward life, and capable of advising and directing others. 


But the training which is given at home is expected to 
make us wise through our own experience. Before 
that can take place, we shall die a hundred times, and 
all through life act injudiciously; for much time is 
needed to give experience. 

Now since the young must leap and jump, or have 
something to do, because they have a natural desire 
for it which should not be restrained, (for it is not well 
to check them in everything,) why should we not pro- 
vide for them such schools, and lay before them such 
studies ? By the gracious arrangement of God, chil- 
dren take delight in acquiring knowledge, whether 
languages, mathematics, or history. And our schools 
are no longer a hell or purgatory, in which children 
are tortured over cases and tenses, and in which with 
much flogging, trembling, anguish and wretchedness 
they learn nothing. If we take so much time and 
pains to teach our children to play cards, sing, and 
dance, why should we not take as much time to teach 
them reading and other branches of knowledge, while 
they are young and at leisure, are quick at learning, 
and take delight in it? As for myself,* if I had chil- 
dren and were able, I would have them learn not only 
the languages and history, but also singing, instrumen- 
tal music, and the whole course of mathematics. For 

* Luther was not yet married. 


what is all this but mere child's play, in which the 
Greeks in former ages trained their children, and by 
this means became wonderfully skillful people, capable 
for every undertaking? How I regret that I did not 
read more poetry and history, and that no one taught 
me in these branches. Instead of these I was obliged 
with great cost, labor, and injury, to read Satanic filth, 
the Aristotelian and Scholastic philosophy, so that I 
have enough to do to get rid of it. 

But you say, who can do without his children and 
bring them up, in this manner, to be young gentle- 
men? I reply: it is not my idea that we should 
establish schools as they have been heretofore, where 
a boy has studied Donatus and Alexander* twenty 
or thirty years, and yet has learned nothing. The 
world has changed, and things go differently. My 
idea is that boys should spend an hour or two a day 
in school, and the rest of the time work at home, 
learn some trade and do whatever is desired, so that 
study and work may go on together, while the chil- 
dren are young and can attend to both. They now 
spend tenfold as much time in shooting with cross- 
bows, playing ball, running, and tumbling about. 

♦Donatus wrote a Latin grammar used as a text-book dur- 
ing the Middle Ages. Alexander was the author of a com- 
mentary on Aristotle. 


In like manner, a girl has time to go to school an 
hour a day, and yet attend to her work at home ; for 
she sleeps, dances, and plays away more than that 
The real difficulty is found alone in the absence of an 
earnest desire to educate the young, and to aid and 
benefit mankind with accomplished citizens. The 
devil much prefers blockheads and drones, that men 
may have more abundant trials and sorrows in the 

But the brightest pupils, who give promise of be- 
coming accomplished teachers, preachers, and work- 
ers, should be kept longer at school, or set apart 
wholly for study, as we read of the holy martyrs, who 
brought up St. Agnes, St. Agatha, St. Lucian, and 
others. For this purpose also the cloisters and 
cathedral schools were founded, but they have been 
perverted into another and accursed use. There is 
great need for such instruction; for the tonsured 
crowd is rapidly decreasing, and besides, for the most 
part, the monks are unskilled to teach and rule, since 
they know nothing but to care for their stomachs, the 
only thing they have been taught. Hence we must 
have persons qualified to dispense the Word of God 
and the Sacraments, and to be pastors of the people. 
But where will we obtain them, if schools are not 
established on a more Christian basis, since those 


hitherto maintained, even if they do not go down, can 
produce nothing but depraved and dangerous corrup- 
ters of youth? 

There is consequently an urgent necessity, not only 
for the sake of the young, but also for the mainte- 
nance of Christianity and of civil government, that 
this matter be immediately and earnestly taken hold 
of, lest afterwards, although we would gladly attend 
to it, we shall find it impossible to do so, and be 
obliged to feel in vain the pangs of remorse forever 
For God is now graciously present, and offers his aid. 
If we despise it, we already have our condemnatioi* 
with the people of Israel, of whom Isaiah says : " 1 
have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebel- 
lious people."* And Proverbs i. 24-26: "I have 
stretched out my hand, and no man regarded: but 
ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none 
of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity ; I 
will mock when your fear cometh." Let us then take 
heed. Consider for example what great zeal Solomon 
manifested; for he was so much interested in the 
young that he took time, in the midst of his imperial 
duties, to write a book for them called Proverbs. 
And think how Christ himself took the little children 
in His arms! How earnestly He commends them to 

* Isaiah Ixv. 2. 


US, and speaks of their guardian angels,* in order that 
He may show us how great a service it is, when we 
rightly bring them up: on the other hand, how His 
anger kindles, if we offend the little ones, and let them 

Therefore, dear Sirs, take to heart this work, which 
God so urgently requires at your hands, which per- 
tains to your office, which is necessary for the young, 
and which neither the world nor the Spirit can do 
without. We have, alas ! lived and degenerated long 
enough in darkness ; we have remained German brutes 
too long. Let us use our reason, that God may ob- 
serve in us gratitude for His mercies, and that other 
lands may see that we are human beings, capable 
both of learning and of teaching, in order that through 
us, also, the world may be made better. I have done 
my part; I have desired to benefit the German states, 
although some have despised me and set my counsel 
at naught as knowing better themselves, — to all which 
I must submit. I know indeed that others could 
have accomplished it better; but because they were 
silent, I have done the best I could. It is better to 
have spoken, even though imperfectly, than to have 
remained silent. And I have hope that God will 
rouse some of you to listen to my counsel, and that 

*Matt. xviii. lo. 


instead of considering the adviser, you will let your- 
selves be moved by the great interests at stake. 

Finally, this must be taken into consideration by 
all who earnestly desire to see such schools established 
and the languages preserved in the German states: 
that no cost nor pains should be spared to procure 
good libraries in suitable buildings, especially in the 
large cities, which are able to afford it. For if a 
knowledge of the Gospel and of every kind of learn- 
ing is to be preserved, it must be embodied in books, 
as the prophets and apostles did, as I have already 
shown. This should be done, not only that our 
spiritual and civil leaders may have something to 
read and study, but also that good books may not be 
lost, and that the arts and languages may be preserved, 
with which God has graciously favored us. St. Paul 
was diligent in this matter, since he lays the injunction 
upon Timothy: "Give attendance to reading;"* and 
directs him to bring the books, but especially the 
parchments left at Troas.f 

All the kingdoms that have been distinguished in 
the world have bestowed care upon this matter, and 
particularly the Israelites, among whom Moses was 
the first to begin the work, who commanded them to 

* I Tim. iv. 13. 
t2 Tim. iv. 13. 


preserve the book of the law in the ark of God, and 
put it under the care of the Levites, that any one 
might procure copies from them. He even com- 
manded the king to make a copy of this book in the 
hands of the Levites. Among other duties, God 
directed the Levitical priesthood to preserve and at- 
tend to the books. Afterwards Joshua increased and 
improved this library, as did subsequently Samuel, 
David, Solomon, Isaiah, and many kings and prophets. 
Hence have come to us the Holy Scriptures of the 
Old Testament, which would not otherwise have been 
collected and preserved, if God had not required such 
diligence in regard to it. 

After this example the collegiate churches and con- 
vents formerly founded libraries, although with few 
good books. And the injury resulting from the 
neglect to procure books and good libraries, when 
there were men and books enough for that purpose, 
was afterwards perceived in the decline of every kind 
of knowledge; and instead of good books, the sense- 
less, useless, and hurtful books of the monks, the 
Catholicon, Florista, Graecista, Labyrinth us, Dormi 
Secure,* and the like were introduced by Satan, so 
that the Latin language was corrupted, and neither 
good schools, good instruction, nor good methods of 

♦Names of Latin grammars and collections of sermons. 



study remained. And as we see, the languages and 
arts are, in an imperfect manner, recovered from frag- 
ments of old books rescued from the worms and dust; 
and every day men are seeking these literary remains, 
as people dig in the ashes of a ruined city after 
treasures and jewels. 

Therein we have received our just due, and God 
has well recompensed our ingratitude, in that we did 
not consider His benefits, and lay up a supply of good 
literature when we had time and opportunity, but 
neglected it, as if we were not concerned. He in 
turn, instead of the Holy Scriptures and good books, 
suffered Aristotle and numberless pernicious books to 
come into use, which only led us further from the 
Bible. To these were added the progeny of Satan, 
the monks and the phantoms of the universities, which 
we founded at incredible cost, and many doctors, 
preachers, teachers, priests and monks, that is to say, 
great, coarse, fat asses, adorned with red and brown 
caps, like swine led with a golden chain and decorated 
with pearls; and we have burdened ourselves with 
them, who have taught us nothing useful, but have 
made us more and more blind and stupid, and as a 
reward have consumed all our property, and filled all 
the cloisters, and indeed every corner, with the dregs 
and filth of their unclean and noxious books, of which 
we can not think without horror. 


Has it not been a grievous misfortune that a boy 
has hitherto been obliged to study twenty years or 
longer, in order to learn enough miserable Latin to 
become a priest and to read the mass? And who- 
ever has succeeded in this, has been called blessed, 
and blessed the mother that has borne such a child ! 
And yet he has remained a poor ignorant man all 
through life, and has been of no real service whatever. 
Everywhere we have had such teachers and masters, 
who have known nothing themselves, who have been 
able to teach nothing useful, and who have been 
ignorant even of the right methods of learning and 
teaching. How has it come about ? No books have 
been accessible but the senseless trash of the monks 
and sophists. How could the pupils and teachers differ 
from the books they studied? A jackdaw does not 
hatch a dove, nor a fool make a man wise. That is 
the recompense of our ingratitude, in that we did not 
use diligence in the formation of libraries, but al- 
lowed good books to perish, and bad ones to survive. 

But my advice is, not to collect all sorts of books 
indiscriminately, thinking only of getting a vast num- 
ber together. I would have discrimination used, 
because it is not necessary to collect the commen- 
taries of all the jurists, the productions of all the theo- 
logians, the discussions of all the philosophers, and 


the sermons of all the monks. Such trash I would 
reject altogether, and provide my library only with 
useful books; and in making the selection, I would 
advise with learned men. 

In the first place, a library should contain the Holy 
Scriptures in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, and 
other languages. Then the best and most ancient 
commentators in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. 

Secondly, such books as are useful in acquiring the 
languages, as the poets and orators, without consider- 
ing whether they are heathen or Christian, Greek or 
Latin. For it is from such works that grammar 
must be learned. 

Thirdly, books treating of all the arts and sciences. 

Lastly, books on jurisprudence and medicine, 
though here discrimination is necessary. 

A prominent place should be given to chronicles 
and histories, in whatever languages they may be 
obtained; for they are wonderfully useful in under- 
standing and regulating the course of the world, and 
in disclosing the marvelous works of God. O how 
many noble deeds and wise maxims produced on 
German soil have been forgotten and lost, because no 
one at the time wrote them down ; or if they were 
written, no one preserved the books: hence we 
Germans are unknown in other lands, and are called 


brutes that know only how to fight, eat, and drink. 
But the Greeks and Romans, and even the Hebrews, 
have recorded their history with such particularity, 
that even if a woman or child did any thing note- 
worthy, all the world was obliged to read and know 
it; but we Germans are always Germans, and will 
remain Germans. 

Since God has so graciously and abundantly provided 
us with art, scholars, and books, it is time for us to reap 
the harvest and gather for future use the treasures of 
these golden years. For it is to be feared, (and even 
now it is beginning to take place,) that new and differ- 
ent books will be produced, until at last, through the 
agency of the devil, the good books which are being 
printed will be crowded out by the multitude of ill- 
considered, senseless, and noxious works. For Satan 
certainly designs that we should torture ourselves 
again with Catholicons, Floristas, Modernists, and 
other trash of the accursed monks and sophists, always 
learning, yet never acquiring knowledge. 

Therefore, my dear Sirs, I beg you to let my labor 
bear fruit with you. And though there be some who 
think me too insignificant to follow my advice, or who 
look down upon me as one condemned by tyrants : 
still let them consider that I am not seeking my own 
interest, but that of all Germany. And even if I were 



a fool, and should yet hit upon something good, no 
wise man should think it a disgrace to follow me. 
And even if I were a Turk and heathen, and it should 
yet appear that my advice was advantageous, not for 
myself, but for Christianity, no reasonable person 
would despise my counsel. Sometimes a fool has 
given better advice than a whole company of wise 
men. Moses received instruction from Jethro. 

Herewith I commend you all to the grace of God. 
May He soften your hearts, and kindle therein a deep 
interest in behalf of the poor, wretched, and neglected 
youth ; and through the blessing of God may you so 
counsel and aid them as to attain to a happy Christian 
social order in respect to both body and soul, with all 
fullness and abounding plenty, to the praise and honor 
of God the Father, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. 

Wittenberg^ 1^24., 



To the Honorable Lazarus Spengler, Counselor of 

the City of Nuremberg, 

My dear Sir and Friend: Grace and peace in 
Christ, our dear Lord and faithful Saviour, Amen. 

I have prepared a sermon to the preachers, who 
are scattered here and there, on the duty of admonish- 
ing their people to send their children to school ; and 
it has so grown on my hands as to become in fact a 
book, though I have been obliged to restrain myself 
lest it become too large, so rich and fruitful is the 
subject. Desiring that it might accomplish much 
good, I have sent it forth under your name, with no 
other purpose than that it might thereby attract more 
attention, and be read, if it is worthy, among your 
citizens. For, although I can well believe that your 
preachers are active enough, and that they, as highly 
favored of God, recognize and further this interest, so 
that — thanks be to God — they do not need my ad- 
monition and instruction; yet it does no harm that 



many agree in this matter, and thus present a stronger 
front to the devil. 

For in such a great city and among so many 
citizens, the devil will certainly try his art and tempt 
some to despise the Word of God; and in particular, 
since commerce and trade will present many occasions 
for it, he will seek to turn the children from educa- 
tion to the service of Mammon. No doubt this is 
now occupying his thoughts; for if he should succeed 
in having the Word and schools neglected in Nurem- 
berg, he would have accomplished a great task, since 
he would have set an example that would have much 
weight in all Germany, and deal a heavy blow to 
education in other cities. For Nuremberg truly 
shines in Germany as a sun among the moon and 
stars, and powerfully influences the life of other com- 

But thanks and praises be to God, who long ago 
anticipated the devil's thoughts and caused your 
honorable Council to establish such an excellent 
school that without boasting I may say that no other 
university, not even that of Paris, has been better 
provided with teachers, as all must testify who are 
acquainted with such institutions. For my part I am 
acquainted with them only too well ! But that institu- 
tion is an ornament to your city, and is widely cele- 


brated, like the wise Council who, in its establishment, 
showed a Christian regard for their subjects, and 
provided, not only for their eternal weal, but also for 
their temporal needs and honor. Which work God 
will certainly continue to strengthen more and more 
with His blessing and grace, though the devil struggle 
against it for a time; for he can not see with pleasure 
that such a tabernacle be built to our God in this sun 
among cities, and he collects clouds, mists, and dust, 
so that its splendor may be obscured and darkened. 
And how could he do otherwise? 

Accordingly I hope that the citizens will recognize 
the fidelity and love of such Councillors, and help 
earnestly to strengthen the work by keeping their 
children at school, since they see that without cost to 
themselves their children have been richly and assidu- 
ously provided for. Especially should the preachers 
urge it; for where they do not do so, the ordinary 
man is tempted and deceived by Satan, so that he 
easily loses sight of his duty, and fails to realize, by 
reason of his manifold employments, the benefits and 
injury at stake. Therefore we should exercise patience, 
when the people are not obdurate and wicked. For I 
know that Nuremberg has many citizens who, God be 
thanked, gladly do their duty when they recognize or 
are taught it — a glory they have not only with me, 
but also throughout Germany. 


But it will not fail that some worshiper of Mam- 
mon will withdraw his son from school and say that 
"a knowledge of arithmetic and reading is enough, 
since we now have German books, etc.," and thus set a 
bad example before pious citizens, who follow him 
to their injury, in the opinion that he has done well. 
In this matter preachers can be of service. For a 
congregation, and especially a large city must have 
not only merchants, but also people who know more 
than arithmetic and reading in German books. Ger- 
man books are made especially for the common man 
to read at home. But for preaching, governing, and 
directing, both in the spiritual and the secular sphere, 
all the sciences and languages of the world are insuf- 
ficient, let alone the German, particularly at this time 
when we have to speak with more people than neigh- 
bor Jack. But these devotees of Mammon do not 
think of government, nor consider that without 
preaching and ruling they would not be able to serve 
their idol for an hour. 

I must believe that among so many people there 
are a few who do not care about the honor or shame 
of the excellent city of Nuremberg, so they get their 
penny. But we should pay no attention to such hurt- 
ful Mammon worshipers, but consider that, as it is a 
high honor for such a city to have an honorable Coun- 


cil providing faithfully for schools, so it would be a 
great shame for the citizens to despise the fidelity of 
their rulers, and thus make themselves participators in 
the bad example and scandal that would be set before 
other cities, which might afterwards say, " That is the 
way they do at Nuremburg: why should we do 

But if you idolaters will not consider what is godly 
and honorable, and will think only of Mammon, God 
will find others to dq His work. For I have known 
cities, thanks be to God, in which, when the Council 
showed itself indifferent to Schools, the pious citizens 
took the matter in hand and compelled the Council to 
establish schools and provide ministers. In like man- 
ner at Nuremberg, if God wills, the shame of your 
evil example will not be permitted to influence the 
people to despise the schools, which an honorable 
Council, with great fidelity and expense, has estab- 

But whither, my dear friend, am I running with my 
letter? It is one of those things which a person can 
say a great deal about; but I wish herewith, in your 
name, to speak to all your citizens, and I beg you 
not to think evil of me; but, as you have hitherto 
done, to help forward the cause. God knows I mean 
well. May Christ our Lord strengthen and preserve 


you against that day, when if God will, we shall with 
joy behold each other in another form. For He who 
has hitherto enabled you to do so much in His work 
and Word, will continue and finish it, to whom be 
praise and thanksgiving forever. Amen. 

Your obedient, Martin Luther. 

Wittenberg, 1530, 

To all Pastors and Preachers, my dear Friends, who 

love Christ in sincerity. Martin Luther. 

Grace and peace in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

My very dear Sirs and Friends: You see plainly 
how Satan is now attacking us on all sides, both with 
power and cunning, and brings about every misery, 
that he may destroy the holy Gospel and the kingdom 
of God, or, if he can not destroy it, that he may at 
least hinder it in every way, and prevent its progress 
and success. Among his various crafty devices, one 
of the greatest, if not the greatest, is to delude the 
common people into withholding their children from 
school and instruction, while he suggests to them such 
hurtful thoughts as these : " Since there is no hope for 
the cloisters and priesthood as formerly, we do not 
need learned men and study, but must consider how 
we may obtain food and wealth." 

That is a master-piece of Satanic art; since he sees 
that he can not have his way in our times, he thinks 


to accomplish his purpose with our descendants, whom 
before our eyes he seeks to withhold from learning 
and knowledge. And thus, when we are dead, he will 
have a naked and defenseless people before him, with 
whom he can do as he pleases. For if the Scriptures 
and learning perish, what will remain in Germany, but 
a lawless horde of Tartars or Turks, yea, a multitude 
of wild beasts ? Such results he does not allow to 
appear at present, and powerfully blinds the people, 
that when the evil does come, and they are obliged to 
learn it from experience, he may laugh at their misery 
and lamentation, which they can no longer do any 
thing to help. They will then be forced to say, " We 
have waited too long," and would give a hundred 
florins for half a scholar, while now they would not 
give five florins for a thorough one. 

And because they are not willing now to support 
and keep pious, honorable, and skillful school-masters 
and teachers who at small expense and with great in- 
dustry and pains would educate their children in the 
fear of God, in science, doctrine, and honor, it would 
almost serve them right to have again, as in former 
times, a set of ignorant and unprincipled pedagogues 
who at great cost would teach their children nothing 
but to be blockheads, and who besides would dishonor 
their wives, daughters, and maid-servants. Such will 


be the reward of their great, shameful ingratitude, into 
which the devil so cunningly leads them. 

Since now as pastors we are to watch against these 
and other wicked devices, we must not sleep, but ad- 
vise, urge, and admonish, with all might, industry, and 
care, that the common people may not allow them- 
selves to be deceived and led astray by the devil. 
Therefore let every one take heed to himself and to 
his office that he may not sleep and thus let the devil 
become god and lord ; for if we are silent and sleep, 
so that the youth are neglected and our descendants 
become Tartars or wild beasts, we will have to bear 
the responsibility and render a heavy account. 

Although I know that many of you, without my 
admonition, attend to this matter faithfully (in refer- 
ence to which I formerly addressed a special treatise 
to the Mayors and Aldermen of the German cities), 
yet, if some perchance forget it, or wish to follow my 
example in laboring at it more diligently, I send you 
this sermon, which I have more than once delivered 
to our people here, that you may see that I strive 
earnestly with you, and that we thus everywhere do 
our duty and in our office are justified before God. 
Much depends truly upon us, since we see that some 
who are even called ministers, go about the matter as 
if they wished to let all schools, discipline, and doctrme 


perish, or even to help to destroy them, since they 
cannot, as hitherto, lead the wanton life to which 
Satan impels them. God help us, Amen. 


Inasmuch as I see, dear friends, that the common 
people are placing themselves in opposition to the 
schools, and that they wish to bring up their children 
without other instruction than that pertaining to their 
bodily wants ; and inasmuch also as they do not con- 
sider what a fearful and unchristian course they are 
thus pursuing, and what a great and murderous injury 
they are inflicting, in the service of Satan, upon so- 
ciety, I have undertaken to address you this admon- 
ition, in the hope that perchance there are some who 
yet in some measure at least believe that there is a 
God in heaven, and a hell ready for the wicked (for 
all the world acts just as if there were neither a God 
in heaven nor devils in hell), and in the hope also that 
there are some who will heed the admonition after 
comtemplating the advantages and disadvantages of 

We will first consider the subject in its spiritual or 
eternal aspects, and afterward in its temporal or secu- 
lar relations. I trust that believers and all who wish 
to be called Christians understand that the ministerial 


office was instituted of God, not with gold and silver, 
but with the precious blood and bitter death of his 
only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. For from His 
wounds, (as is shown in the epistles) truly flow the 
sacraments, and His blood has dearly purchased for 
mankind the blessing of the ministerial office, the 
function of which is to preach, baptize, loose, bind, 
dispense the sacraments, comfort, warn, admonish 
with God's Word, and do whatever else pertains to the 
care of souls. Such an office not only promotes tem- 
poral life and every secular condition, but it also gives 
eternal life, releases from death and sin, which is its 
peculiar and distinguished work; and indeed the 
world stands and abides only on account of this office, 
without which it would long since have perished. 

But I do not mean the clerical office, with its celi- 
bate manner of life, as seen in the cloisters and cathe- 
drals; for it has there degenerated from its original 
excellent purpose, and become a device for obtaining 
money and contributions from the people ; it has noth- 
ing clerical about it but celibacy, which is not neces- 
sary, and it consists alone in external, worldly display; 
for the Word of God and the work of preaching are 
totally disregarded. Where the Scriptures are neg- 
lected, there the clergy must be worthless. 

But I mean the clerical office which pays attention 


to preaching and the ministration of the Word and 
Sacraments ; which imparts the Holy Spirit and salva- 
tion — blessings not to be obtained by means of music 
and display; which includes the duties of pastor, 
teacher, preacher, reader, chaplain, sexton, and school- 
master ; and which is highly praised and extolled in 
the Scriptures. St. Paul speaks of ministers as the 
stewards and servants of God, bishops, prophets, and 
also ambassadors of God to reconcile the world to 
God (2 Cor. V. 20). Joel calls them the Lord's mes- 
sengers; David calls them kings and princes; Haggai 
calls them messengers; and Malachi says, "The 
priest's lips should keep knowledge; for he is the 
messenger of the Lord of hosts" (Mai. ii. 7) ; as Christ 
also says, Matthew xi. 10, when he calls John the 
Baptist a messenger, and also throughout the book of 

The ancients were very loth to assume this office 
on account of its great worth and responsibility, and 
they had to be urged and forced to do so ; but after- 
wards, and up to the present time, there have been 
many who have praised the office on account of the 
mass more than on account of preaching, which praise 
has increased to such a point that the priests are ex- 
alted above Mary and the angels, because the angels 
and Mary cannot celebrate mass. A new priest and a 


first mass have been held of great importance, and 
blessed has been the mother that has borne a priest ; 
but the Word of God and the work of preaching, 
which is the highest function of the clerical office, 
have been disregarded. And in a word, a man who 
could celebrate mass, has been called a priest, although 
he has not been able to preach at all, and has been 
only an unlearned ass ; and such for the most part is 
the clerical office to-day. 

If it is certain and true that God has instituted the 
office of the ministry with His own blood and death, 
we may be sure that He desires to have it highly 
honored, and continued till the day of judgment. 
For the Gospel and Christianity must abide till that 
day, as Christ says, Matthew xxviii. 20; "Lo, I am 
with you alway, even unto the end." But through 
whom is it to be continued ? Oxen and horses, dogs 
and swine, will not do it, nor wood and stone ; it must 
be done by men : for this office has not been commit- 
ted to oxen and horses, but to men. But where shall 
we find persons for this work, except among those 
who have children ? If you refuse to bring up your 
child for it, and others do the same, so that no fathers 
and mothers give their children to our God, how can 
the ministerial office be filled? The present incum- 
bents can not live forever, but are dying daily ; and if 


there are none to take their places, what will God say? 
Do you suppose it will be pleasing to Him that an of- 
fice, divinely instituted for His honor and glory, and 
our salvation, is shamefully despised and with base in- 
gratitude allowed to perish ? 

He has given the children and the means of their 
support, not that you might simply have pleasure in 
them and bring them up for worldly display. You are 
earnestly commanded to bring them up for the service 
of God ; and otherwise you will perish with your chil- 
dren, as the First Commandment says : " I the Lord 
thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the 
fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth 
generation of them that hate me." * 

But how will you bring them up to the service of 
God when preaching and the ministerial office have 
passed away? And the fault is yours, since you 
might have helped to preserve them, if you had in- 
structed your child. For when you can teach your 
child, and it is capable and desirous of learning, and 
you do not aid but hinder it, (mark my words well !) 
you are responsible for the injury that comes to the 
world through the decline of the ministry and the 
neglect of God and His word. Such is your responsi- 
bility if you let the ministry decline ; and if you do 

*Deut. V. 9. 


not feel enough interest to give your child, you would 
act the same if all the children in the world were 
yours, — so that as far as you are concerned the service 
of God would perish. 

And it does no good to say : " My neighbor keeps 
his son at school, I dare not do it," and so forth. For 
your neighbor can say the same thing, and so on with 
all neighbors; and where then will God find peo- 
ple for the ministerial office? You have children, and 
can give them, but will not do it; thus, so far as you 
are concerned, the ministry falls to the ground. And 
because you with gross ingratitude let the sacred office, 
so dearly purchased, languish and die, you will be ac- 
cursed, and in your own person, or in your children, 
you will suffer shame and sorrow, or otherwise be so 
tormented, that you will be damned with them, not 
only here on earth, but eternally in hell. This will not 
fail to come upon you, in order that you may learn 
that your children are not so entirely your own, that 
you can withhold them from God; He will have justice, 
and they are more His than yours. 


The Spiritual Benefit or hijury arising from the Sup- 
port or Neglect of Schools. 

And that you may not think that I speak too harshly, 


I will lay before you in part (for who can tell all?) the 
benefit or the injury that you are doing, so that, in case 
you find yourself guilty, and do not amend your ways, 
you will be obliged to say yourselves, that you verily 
belong to the devil, and deserve to be condemned to 
hell ; or so that, on the other hand, you may heartily 
rejoice and be glad if you find yourself chosen of God, 
to educate with your means and labor a son, who will 
become a pious Christian pastor, preacher, or school- 
master, and thus to bring up for God an especial serv- 
ant — ^yea, as was said above, a messenger of God, a 
pious bishop, a saviour of many people, a king and 
prince in the kingdom of Christ, a teacher among 
God's people, a light of the world. And who will or 
can relate all the honor and excellence that a good 
and faithful pastor has before God ? There is no more 
precious treasure, no nobler thing on earth, than a 
pious, faithful pastor or preacher. 

For consider that whatever of good is connected 
with the oflfice of preaching and the care of souls, will 
be accomplished by your son, if he is faithful in his 
ministry, so that through him many souls will be 
daily taught, converted, baptized, brought to Christ, 
made blessed, redeemed from sin, death, hell, and the 
devil, and come to perfect righteousness and eternal 
life in heaven. Daniel well says ; " They that teach 


Others shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; 
and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars 
forever and ever" (Dan. xii. 3). For since God's Word 
and office, where they are rightly employed, must 
always accomplish great things, and indeed work 
miracles, your son will be constantly doing wonderful 
things for God, such as to raise the dead, cast out 
devils, make the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the 
lepers to be clean, the dumb to speak, and the lame to 
walk. If this is not done in the body, it is done in the 
soul, which is indeed a greater work, as Christ says, 
John xiv. 12: "He that believeth on me, the works 
that I do shall he do also ; and greater works than 
these shall he do." If a simple Christian can do such 
things in the case of individuals, how much more can 
a public preacher accomplish, who deals with whole 
congregations? Not that he does it himself, but his 
office, which has been instituted of God for that pur- 
pose, and the Word of God, which he teaches; for he 
is but an instrument in the hands of God. 

If he does such great works and miracles spirit- 
ually, it follows that he does them also physically, or 
at least is a beginner and cause of them. For whence 
comes it that Christians will rise from the dead on the 
day of judgment? — that all the deaf, blind, lame, and all 

other sufferers will throw off their bodily ailments, and 


that their bodies will not simply become beautiful and 
sound, but, as Christ says, shine bright and glorious 
as the sun? Does it not come from the fact that 
here on earth, through the Word of God, they have 
been converted, baptized, and united to Christ? As 
Paul says, Rom. viii. 1 1 : "He that raised up Christ 
from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies 
by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." Who helps men 
to such faith, and the beginning of the bodily resurrec- 
tion, without the office of preaching and the Word of 
God, which are committed to your son ? Is that not 
an immeasurably grander and more splendid work 
and miracle, than if He raised the dead here in the 
world, and restored the blind, deaf, dumb, and leprous 
to a perishable existence ? 

If you were certain that your son would perform 
one of these works on a single individual, so that he 
would make a blind man to see, raise a man from the 
dead, rescue a soul from the devil, or save a human 
being from hell, would you not properly, with all joy, 
use your means to educate him for such an office and 
work? And would you not leap for joy that with 
your money you had accomplished so great a thing 
for God? For what are all endowments and cloisters, 
as they now exist with their own works, in comparison 
with such a pastor, preacher, or school-master? 


although in former times they were established by 
pious kings and lords for this precious end, that they 
might be agencies for bringing up such pastors and 
preachers; but now alas! through the influence of the 
devil, they have sunk into degradation, so that they 
have become, to the injury and destruction of Chris- 
tianity, the suburbs of hell. 

Behold, thy son performs not only one such work, 
but many, and that every day ; and what is best of all, 
he does them in the sight of God, who holds them 
dear, as has been shown, though men do not recog- 
nize and esteem them ; yea, if the world regard him as 
a heretic, seducer, deceiver, so much the better: it is a 
good sign that he is an upright man, and like the 
Lord Jesus Christ. For Christ himself was held a 
deceiver, rebel, and criminal, and was judged and 
crucified with murderers. Were I a preacher, what 
would it concern me that the world called me a devil, 
if I knew that God called me an angel? Let the 
world call me a seducer as long as it pleases — if God 
but call me his faithful servant and steward, the angels 
call me their companion, the saints call me their 
brother, the believing call me their father, distressed 
souls call me their saviour, the ignorant call me their 
light, and God approves of it all, what harm can the 
world and the devil do me with their calumny and 
abuse ? 


We have been speaking of the works and miracles 
which your son does in relation to souls, in saving 
them from sin, death, and the devil. But in relation 
to the world also he does great and mighty works, in 
that he informs and instructs all classes how they are 
to discharge their various duties in a manner accept- 
able to God. He comforts the sorrowing, gives 
counsel, settles difficulties, calms disturbed consciences, 
helps to maintain peace, to appease, to reconcile, and 
similar duties without number; for a preacher con- 
firms, strengthens, and supports all authority, all 
temporal peace, governs the seditious, teaches obedi- 
ence, morality, discipline, and honor, and gives in- 
struction in the duties pertaining to fathers, mothers, 
children, servants, and in a word to all other secular 
relations of life. These are, it is true, the least of a 
pastor's services ; yet they are so excellent and noble 
that the wisest of the heathen philosophers did not 
recognize or understand, much less practice them ; 
and no jurist, no university, no cloister, knows of such 
works, nor are they taught in either ecclesiastical or 
civil law. For there is no one who recognizes such 
secular offices as the great gifts or gracious arrange- 
ment of God ; it is the Word of God and the minis- 
terial office alone that highly praise and honor them. 

Therefore, if we wish to speak the truth, we must 


say that temporal peace — the greatest good on earth, 
in which all other temporal blessings are compre- 
hended — is really a fruit of the ministerial office. For 
where it perishes, there are found war, hatred, and the 
shedding of blood; and where it is not properly exer- 
cised, we find, if not actual war, at least a constant 
unrest, a desire for war and bloodshed. We see this 
exemplified in the case of the Papists, who can do 
nothing but shout fire and blood, and who murder in- 
nocent pastors on account of marriage, though the 
Pope himself and their own ecclesiastical law only 
sanction as the highest punishment for such an offense 
expulsion from the priestly office, according the offend- 
ers life, and property, and Christian integrity; and so 
far from condemning them to hell, they do not even 
hold them as heretics, as all the jurists and the world 
at large must testify, and as the imperial Diet at 
Nuremberg decreed. But the blind bloodhounds who 
have turned the clerical office into a lie, can not de- 
sist from murder, as their god the devil also does, 
who from the beginning has been a murderer and liar. 
(John viii. 44.) 

An upright pastor, then, serves mankind in body 
and soul, in estate and honor. But above that, con- 
sider how he serves God, and what splendid sacrifices 
and services he renders: for through his office and 


Word, the kingdom of God is maintained in the world, 
the honor, the name, the glory of God, a right faith 
and apprehension of Christ, the fruit of the suffering, 
and blood, and death of Christ, the gifts, works and 
power of the Holy Spirit, the proper use of Baptism 
and the Lord's Supper, the pure doctrine of the Gos- 
pel, the proper manner of chastening and crucifying 
the flesh, and similar blessings. Who can sufficiently 
extol a single one of them? And how much re- 
mains to be said! The faithful pastor fights against 
the devil, worldly wisdom, spiritual blindness; he 
gains victories over them, strikes down error, sup- 
presses heresies. For he must strive and battle 
against the gates of hell, overcome the devil, which he 
also does, not by his own might, but through his office 
and word. These are all inexpressible works and 
miracles of the ministerial office. In a word, if we 
praise God himself, we must also praise the Word and 
preaching; for it is the office and Word of God. 

If you were a king, you should yet esteem yourself 
unworthy to consecrate your son, with all your prop- 
erty, to such an office and work. Is not the labor or 
the penny that you bestow on such a son, too highly 
honored, too richly blessed, too costly invested, and 
in the eyes of God is it not better than any kingdom 
or empire? A man ought to carry such a penny to 


the ends of the earth, if he knew that it would be so 
splendidly invested. And behold, you have in your 
own house and in your own bosom the means of this 
priceless investment. Shame, and again I say shame 
upon our blind and base ingratitude, that we do not 
see what a beautiful and excellent service we render 
to God, yea, what great personages we may become 
in His sight, with little effort and expense. 

The Papists abuse us Lutherans for not teaching 
good works. They are fine fellows to talk about 
good works! Are not the things just mentioned 
good works? What are all the works of the priests 
and monks in comparison with such miracles? Their 
talk is like the chattering of jackdaws, only not so 
good; for the jackdaws chatter from love and pleasure, 
but the Papists howl from chagrin. If people have 
heretofore set great store by the first mass and a new 
priest; if father and mother with their friends have 
rejoiced because they had brought up a son to be an 
idle, lazy, useless priest of the mass or of the cup- 
board, who with his blasphemous sacrifice of the mass 
and his reprobate prayers insults God, and vexes and 
flays society: how much more should you rejoice, if 
you bring up a son for one of these callings, in which 
you are sure that he grandly serves God, richly aids 
mankind, and heroically fights the devil? Here you 


make a true sacrifice of your son, so that the angels 
are obliged to regard you with admiration. 

Again, you should also know the injury you do, if 
you take the opposite course. For if God has given 
you a child suitable for such an office, and you do 
not bring him up for it, thinking only of his temporal 
wants; take up the list of good works and miracles 
above given, and examine it, and you will find what a 
hypocrite you are. For as far as lies in your power, 
you deprive God of a messenger, a servant, a king 
and prince in his kingdom, a saviour and comforter of 
man in body and soul, in estate and honor, a captain 
and knight to contend against the devil; and at the 
same time you make room for the devil, and advance 
his kingdom, by helping him to keep souls in sin, 
death, hell, and daily to bring many more under his 
power; you aid in perpetuating heresy, error, discon- 
tent, war, and hate in the world, whereby it daily 
becomes worse; and thus the kingdom of God, Christian 
faith, the fruit of the suffering and blood of Christ, the 
work of the Holy Spirit, the Gospel and all worship 
of God perish, while the service of Satan and fatal 
errors gain the ascendency. This condition of things 
would have been hindered and bettered, if you had 
brought up your child to the ministry. 

How will it be with you, when God on your death- 


bed, or in the day of judgment, thus addresses you: " I 
was hungry, thirsty, a guest, naked, sick, in prison, and 
you did not help me ; for what you have not done to 
my people and kindom and Gospel on earth, helping 
to destroy them and allowing souls to perish, you 
have not done to me. For you could have helped 
me ; I had given you children and property ; but you 
stubbornly permitted me and my kingdom and the 
souls of men to suffer want and to be despised, while 
in opposition to me you served Satan and his kingdom. 
He shall now be your reward ; depart with him into 
the abyss of hell ! You have not helped to build up 
and advance my kingdom, but to weaken and destroy 
it ; you have helped to promote the interests and power 
of the devil: dwell then in the house you have 

What do you think? Are you not in danger that the 
wrath of God may suddenly overtake you, who go on 
heedlessly, as if you were doing right in not instruct- 
ing your children ? And when his judgment comes, 
you will have to say that you are righteously con- 
demned to hell as one of the most impious and most 
hurtful of men. And if you would now, in the present 
life, rightly consider the matter, you would be filled 
with terror ; for no conscience is able to bear the guilt 
of a single one of the particulars mentioned above; 


how much less can it bear the burden of all whtn they 
suddenly fall upon the soul? Your heart will then 
cry out that your sins are more numerous than the 
leaves of the forest, greater than heaven and earth, 
and with Manasseh, king of Judah, you will exclaim : 
" My sins are more than the sands of the seashore, aiid 
my offense is great." 

Our natural sense of right attests this truth, that 
whoever can prevent an injury, and does not do it, he 
is guilty of the injury, since he evidently has a desire 
and will for it, and would do it himself, if he had cause 
and opportunity. Therefore such people are no better 
than Satan himself, because they are so hostile to God 
and the world, that they help to overthrow religion and 
social order, and faithfully serve the devil. In a word, 
if we can denounce Satan enough, we can denounce 
such people enough, who hinder the office and work 
ordained of God: for they are the servants of the 

I do not mean that every one is obliged to bring up 
his child to such an office, for all boys are not to be- 
come pastors, preachers, school-masters; and it is well 
to know that the children of lords and nobles are not 
to be thus employed, since society needs them for sec- 
ular authority and social order. I speak of the com- 
mon people, who would formerly have schooled their 


children for the sake of a benefice and an income, and 
who now only on account of support withhold them 
from the office, although they need no heirs, and keep 
their children from school, notwithstanding the fact 
that their children are well adapted to the ministry, 
and could serve God without want or hindrance. 

Such promising children should be instructed, es- 
pecially the children of the poor ; for this purpose the 
revenues of endowments and monasteries were pro- 
vided. But also the boys that are less promising 
should learn at least to understand, readj and write 
Latin. For we need not only learned doctors and 
masters in the Scriptures, but also ordinary pastors, 
who may teach the Gospel and the catechism to the 
young and ignorant, baptize, administer the Lord's 
Supper, &c. If they are not capable of contending 
with heretics, it does not matter. For in a good 
building, we need both large and small timber; and 
in like manner we must have sextons and others to aid 
the minister and further the Word of God. 

And if such a boy who has learned Latin afterwards 
works at a trade, you will have him in reserve, to 
labor as a pastor in case of need ; and such knowl- 
edge will not interfere with his gaining a livelihood 
and will enable him to govern his house all the 
better. And especially in our times is it easy to edu- 


cate such persons, who may learn the Gospel and the 
catechism, because not only the Holy Scriptures but 
also every kind of learning is now within reach, with 
so many books and so much reading and preaching 
that (God be thanked!) a man at present can learn 
more in three years than formerly in twenty; even 
women and children can now learn more of God and 
Christ from German books and sermons (I speak the 
truth) than was formerly known by the universities, 
priests, monks, the whole Papacy, and the entire 
world. But even the ordinary pastor and preacher 
must be acquainted with Latin, which he can no more 
dispense with than the learned can dispense with 
Greek and Hebrew, as St. Augustine says, and eccle- 
siastical law itself establishes. 

But you say, " How if it turns out badly, so that my 
son becomes a heretic or a villain ? " For, as people 
say, " education means perversion." Well, you must 
run that risk ; but your labor is not lost. God will 
consider your faithful service, and will count it as if 
successful. You must run the risk, as in other callings 
to which you wish to bring up your son. How was it 
with Abraham, whose son Ishmael did badly; with 
Isaac and his son Esau ; with Adam and his son Cain? 
Ought Abraham for that reason to have neglected his 
son Isaac, Isaac his son Jacob, and Adam his son 


Abel? Among the chosen children of Israel, how 
many wicked kings and people there were, who with 
their heresy and idolatry wrought all manner of evil 
and slew the prophets: would it therefore have been 
right for the priests to neglect the whole people, and 
educate no one for the service of God ? How many 
wicked priests and Levites were in the tribe of Levi, 
which God himself chose for the priestly office ? 
How many people has God on earth who abuse all 
his goodness ? Should He therefore withhold His 
goodness, suffer all men to perish, and cease to do 

You should not be anxious in regard to the support 
of your son in case he devotes himself to learning and 
the ministry, for God has not forsaken and forgotten 
you in this particular. He has ordained through St. 
Paul, I Cor. ix. 14, "that they which preach the 
Gospel should live of the Gospel." And Christ him- 
self has said, Matt. x. 10, that "the workman is 
worthy of his meat." In the Old Testament, in order 
that the ministerial office might not perish, God chose 
and took the whole tribe of Levi, that is to say, the 
twelfth part of the whole people of Israel, and gave 
them " the tenth in Israel for an inheritance," and in 
addition the first fruits, all kinds of offerings, their 
own cities, land, and cattle, and whatever belongs 


thereto. In the New Testament era, see how richly 
in former times emperors, kings, princes and lords, 
contributed to the support of this office, so that 
churches and monasteries now surpass kings and 
princes in wealth. God will not and can not forsake 
his faithful servants, as He has promised, Heb. xiii. 5 : 
" I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." 

Consider for yourselves how many pastorates, 
schools, and other offices are daily becoming vacant. 
That fact assures your son of a support before he 
needs it or has earned it. When I was a young 
student, I heard it said that in Saxony, if I mistake 
not, there were about eighteen hundred parishes. If 
that is true, and if with each parish two persons, a 
pastor and a sexton, are connected (not counting the 
preachers, chaplains, assistants, and teachers in the 
cities), it follows that about four thousand learned per- 
sons belong to such a principality, of whom one-third 
die in ten years. Now I would wager that there are 
not four thousand students in the half of Germany. 
I venture the assertion also that there are scarcely 
eight hundred pastors in Saxony; — how many must be 
wanting in all Germany? 

I should like to know where in three years we are 
to get pastors, teachers, and sextons? If we remain 
idle, and if the princes in particular do not see to it 


that both preparatory schools and universities are 
properly maintained, there will be such a want of edu- 
cated persons, that three or four cities will have to be 
assigned to one pastor, and ten villages to one chap- 
lain, if perchance the ministers can be found at all. 

It is sad to see how the universities of Erfurt, Leip- 
sic, and others, as well as the preparatory schools, are 
deserted, so that little Wittenberg almost alone is do- 
ing its best. This same want, I imagine, will be felt 
also by the chapters and monasteries, who will not 
continue to boast as they have begun. Hence you 
can send your son to school with full assurance that 
men will be wanting rather than means; and per- 
chance, if the world lasts and God graciously influ- 
ences princes and cities to act, the property of chap- 
ters and cloisters may be applied to this purpose, for 
which it was originally designed. And why care so 
much for the body? There stands Christ and says, 
Matt. vi. 31, 33: "Take no thought, saying, what 
shall we eat? or, what shall we drink? or, wherewithal 
shall we be clothed? For your heavenly Father 
knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But 
seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteous- 
ness, and all these things shall be added unto you." 
Whoever does not believe that, let him take anxious 
thought, and yet die of hunger. 


Though it is true that some years ago many pas- 
tors suffered hunger and destitution, the reason is to 
be found in the great commotion prevailing in the 
world, so that people became wicked, ungrateful, and 
avaricious, and persecuted the Gospel. It was thus 
that God tried us, in order to see if we were sincere ; 
and we are not to regard this trial otherwise than in 
the days of the martyrs, when pious teachers suffered 
great poverty and want, as St. Paul himself boasts. 
And Christ also predicted, Matt. ix. 15 : " When the 
bridegroom shall be taken from them, then shall they 
fast." That is true, evangelical fasting. 

God's Word has seldom appeared without being 
attended with scarcity or famine, as in the days of 
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Elijah, Elisha; and in 
the early days of the Gospel, there was a " great 
dearth throughout all the world." (Acts xi. 28). And 
the blame is ascribed to the precious Gospel and the 
Word of God, and not to the past sins and present 
obdurate ingratitude of men. Thus the Jews attri- 
buted all their misfortune to the teaching of Jeremiah 
(Jer. xliv. 16-19). ^^^ ^^^ Romans, when they were 
overthrown by the Goths, ascribed their defeat to the 
fact that they had become Christians, against which 
error St. Augustine wrote a great book, " De Civi- 
tate Dei." 


But say what we will, the world is the world : as 
those became deceivers and perished, so shall also 
these become deceivers and perish, that Christ and His 
word may remain. He sits exalted and immovable, as 
it is written : " The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou 
on my right hand." He can not be moved ; and so long 
as He remains, we shall remain also. And in a word, 
it would be as easy for your son to secure a support 
from the ministry as from a trade, if property is what 
you are after, in order to make a great lord of youi 
son in the eyes of the world, like the bishops and 
canons. But if you are thus minded, this discourse is 
not addressed to you. 

I speak to the believing, who honor the ministerial 
office, and esteem it far above wealth as, next to God 
himself, the best treasure given to men, in order that 
they may know what a great service they render God, 
when they prefer this work with little pay to the 
world's riches without it. They will not fail to recog- 
nize that the soul is more than the body, and that the 
body may be easily provided for, all superfluities 
being left behind at death. But those who seek true 
riches will take their treasure with them, which is far 
better. So much for a brief and hasty consideration 
of the benefit and the injury resulting from a mainte- 
nance or a neglect of the schools. 



The Temporal Benefit or Injury arising from the Sup- 
port or the Neglect of Schools. 

The second part of this discourse will be devoted to 
the temporal or secular benefit and injury resulting 
from a support or a neglect of schools. In the first 
place, it is true that secular authority or station is in 
no way comparable to the spiritual ofiice of the minis- 
try, as St Paul calls it; for it is not so dearly pur- 
chased through the blood and death of the Son of 
God. It can not perform such great works and mir- 
acles as the ministerial office ; for all the works of 
secular authority belong only to this temporal and 
transitory existence, such as caring for body, wife, child, 
house, goods, and honor, and whatever else pertains 
to the needs of the present life. As far then as eternal 
life surpasses temporal life, so far does the ministerial 
office surpass secular office; the one is the substance, 
the other is the shadow. For secular authority is an 
image, shadow, or figure of the authority of Christ; 
for the ministerial office, (where it exists as God or- 
dained it,) brings and imparts eternal righteousness, 
eternal peace, and eternal life, as St. Paul declares in 
the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians. But secular 
government maintains temporal and transitory peace, 
law, and life. 


But it is still a beautiful and divine ordinance, an 
excellent gift of God, who ordained it, and who wishes 
to have it maintained as indispensable to human wel- 
fare ; without it men could not live together in society, 
but would devour one another like the irrational ani- 
mals. Therefore, as it is the function and honor of the 
ministerial office to make saints out of sinners, to re- 
store the dead to life, to confer blessedness upon the 
lost, to change the servants of the devil into children 
of God : so it is the function and honor of civil 
government to make men out of wild animals, and to 
restrain them from degenerating into brutes. It pro- 
tects every one in body, so that he may not be injured; 
it protects every one in family, so that the members 
may not be wronged; it protects every one in house, 
lands, cattle, property, so that they may not be 
attacked, injured, or stolen. 

This state of things does not exist among the lower 
animals, and it would not prevail among men, if it 
were not for civil government. If the birds and beasts 
could speak, and should consider the civil regulations 
of men, do you not suppose that they would say : " O 
ye men, in comparison with us ye are gods ! In what 
security ye live and possess all things ! But we are 
not secure against one another for an hour in life, 
home or food. Woe to your ingratitude, that ye do 


not perceive what an excellent gift the God of us all 
has bestowed upon you!" 

Since then it is certain that civil government is a 
divine ordinance, an office and institution necessary for 
men in the present life, it is easy to see that God does 
not design that it should perish, but that it should 
continue for the protection of the righteous and the 
punishment of the wicked, as is clearly taught in 
Romans xiii. 4 and I Peter ii. 13. But who will 
maintain it except us men to whom God has commit- 
ted it? Wild animals will not do it, wood and stone 
will not; but what men can maintain it? Certainly 
not those who rule by club-law alone, as many now 
think. For where club-law alone prevails, will surely 
be found at last a brutal condition of society, the 
strong tyrannizing over the weak. We have examples 
enough before our eyes to show us what sheer physi- 
cal force, without wisdom or reason, would do. 

Hence Solomon says in Proverbs viii. 14, 15, that 
wisdom must rule, and not force, testifying of the for- 
mer: "Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am un- 
derstanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, 
and princes decree justice." And in Ecclesiastes ix. 
16, 18, he says: "Wisdom is better than strength. 
Wisdom is better than weapons of war." All history 
shows that mere force, without reason or wisdom, can 


never accomplish anything; and even tyrants and 
murderers, unless they wisely cloak their tyranny 
under the forms of law and right, can not long con- 
tinue in authority, but soon disagree and perish by 
one another's hand. In a word, not club-law but jus- 
tice, not force but wisdom and reason, must govern 
among the wicked as well as among the good. 

Accordingly, since our government in the German 
states is based on the imperial law of Rome, which 
embodies the wisdom and reason of our government, 
it follows that such a government can not be main- 
tained, unless these laws are upheld. Now who will 
uphold them? Club-law and force will not do it; it 
must be done by means of knowledge and books; 
men must learn and understand the law and wisdom 
of our empire. Although it is an excellent thing 
when an emperor, prince or lord is wise and judicious 
by nature, so that he can administer justice without 
external aids, as could Frederick, Duke of Saxony, 
and Fabian von Feilitz (not to speak of the living); 
yet such rulers are rare, and their example is dan- 
gerous, so that it is always better to adhere to the 
written law, which carries with it authority, and serves 
as a safeguard against arbitrary action. 

Now in civil government it is the jurists and schol- 
ars who uphold this law, and thereby maintain secular 


authority ; and just as a pious theologian or sincere 
preacher in the kingdom of Christ is called a messen- 
ger of God, a saviour, prophet, priest, steward and 
teacher (as was said above), in like manner a pious 
jurist or a faithful scholar in the government of the 
emperor might be called a prophet, priest, messen- 
ger, and saviour. On the other hand, just as a heretic 
or hypocritical minister in the kingdom of Christ is a 
devil, thief, murderer, blasphemer; in the same way a 
corrupt and unfaithful jurist in the government of the 
emperor is a thief, rogue, traitor, devil. 

When I speak of jurists, I do not mean the doctors 
alone, but the whole body of civil officers — chancellors, 
secretaries, judges, advocates, notaries, and whatever 
else belongs to the civil administration, even the great 
crowd of advisers, as they are called, at court ; for they 
exercise the functions of law and of jurists. And 
since an adviser through evil advice can easily become 
a traitor, it sometimes happens that under the form of 
friendly counsel sovereigns are basely betrayed. 

You now see of what use an upright jurist can be; 
yea, who can fully set it forth ? For whatever is 
God's ordinance and work, bears so much fruit that it 
can not be told or comprehended. First of all, such 
a jurist maintains and furthers with his legal knowl- 
edge (through divine institution) the whole structure 


of civil government — emperors, princes, lords, cities, 
states, people (as before stated), for all must be upheld 
through wisdom and justice. But who can sufficiently 
praise this work alone ? It gives you protection of 
body and life against neighbors, enemies, murderers; 
protection also of wife, daughters, sons, house, ser- 
vants, money, property, lands, and whatever you pos- 
sess; for it is all comprehended, secured, and hedged 
about by law. How great a blessing that is, can not 
be told. Who can express the immeasurable benefits 
of peace? How much it gives and saves every year! 
Such great works can your son do, and such a 
useful person can he become, if you direct him to the 
civil service and send him to school ; and if you can 
become a sharer in this honor, and make such good 
use of your money, ought it not to be a great pleasure 
and glory to you ? Think of your son as a messenger 
in the empire, an apostle of the emperor, a corner- 
stone and foundation of temporal peace on earth! 
Knowing, too, that God looks upon the service in this 
light, as indeed it deserves to be ! For though we 
can not be justified and secure salvation by such works, 
it is still a joyful comfort that these works are well- 
pleasing to God, especially when such a man is a 
believer and a member of Christ's kingdom; for in 
that way we thank him for his benefits, and bring him 
the best thank-offering and the highest service. 


You must indeed be an insensible and ungrateful 
creature, fit to be ranked among the brutes, if you see 
that your son may become a man to help the emperor 
maintain his dominions, sword, and crown — to help the 
prince govern his land, to counsel cities and states, to 
help protect for every man his body, wife, child, prop- 
erty, and honor — and yet will not do so much as to 
send him to school and prepare him for this work! 
Tell me, what are all the chapters and cloisters doing 
in comparison with this? I would not give the work 
of a faithful, upright jurist and secretary for the right- 
eousness of all the monks, priests, and nuns at their 
best. And if such great good works do not move 
you, the honor and desire of God alone should move 
you, since you know that you thereby express your 
gratitude to God, and render Him a service of surpass- 
ing excellence, as has been said. It is a shameful 
contempt of God that you do not bring up your chil- 
dren to such an excellent and divinely appointed 
calling, and that you strengthen them only in the 
service of appetite and avarice, teaching them nothing 
but to provide for the stomach, like a hog with its 
nose always in filth, and do not bring them up to this 
worthy station and office. You must either be in- 
sensible creatures, or else you do not love your chil- 


But hearken further: how if God demands your 
child for such office? For you are under obligation 
to help maintain civil order if you can. Now, beyond 
all doubt, it can not be maintained if people do not 
have their children instructed ; and since more wisdom 
is required in civil office than in the ministry, it will 
be necessary to set apart for it the brightest boys. 
For in the ministry Christ works by His Spirit; but in 
civil government men must be guided by reason 
(which is the source of human laws): for God has 
placed secular government and our physical state 
under the control of reason (Gen. ii. 19), and has not 
sent the Holy Spirit for that purpose. Hence the 
functions of civil office are more difficult than those of 
the ministry, since the conscience can not rule, but 
must act, so to speak, in the dark. 

If now you have a son capable of learning ; if you 

can send him to school, but do not do it and go your 

way asking nothing about temporal government, law, 

peace, and so on; you are, to the extent of your 

ability, opposing civil authority like the Turk, yea, 

Hke the devil himself For you withhold from the 

empire, principality, state, city, a saviour, comforter, 

corner-stone, helper ; and so far as you are concerned, 

the emperor loses both his sword and crown, the 

state loses protection and peace, and it is through 


your fault (as much as lies in you) that no man can 
hold in security his body, wife, child, house, property. 
On the contrary, you freely offer them all upon a 
butcher's block, and give occasion for men to degene- 
rate into brutes, and at last to devour one another. 
All this you certainly do, especially if you on purpose 
withdraw your child from such a salutary station out 
of regard for his physical wants. Are you not a 
pretty and useful man in society! You daily enjoy 
the benefits of the government, and then as a return 
rob it of your son, dedicating him to avarice, and thus 
strive with all your might not to maintain government, 
law, and peace, but to destroy social order, though 
you possess and hold your body, life, property, and 
honor, through secular authority. 

What do you think you deserve? Are you even 
worthy to dwell among men? What will God say, 
who has given you child and property that you might 
honor Him therewith, and consecrate your child to His 
service? Is it not serving God, if we help to main- 
tain His ordinance of civil government? Now you 
neglect such service, as if it did not concern you, or as 
if you above all men were free and not bound to serve 
God; and you presume to do with your child what 
you please, even though the temporal and the spirit- 
ual kingdom of God perish; and at the same time 


you enjoy the protection, peace, and law of the empire, 
and allow the ministry and Word of God to serve you, 
so that God becomes your servant: and yet you abuse 
all these benefits to turn your son from him, and to 
teach him the service of Mammon. 

Do you not think God will pronounce such a judg- 
ment on your worldliness that you will perish with 
your children and property? Rather, is not your 
heart affrighted at the horror of your idolatry, at your 
contempt of God, your ingratitude, your destruction 
of the civil and religious ordinances of God, yea, at 
the injury you do all men? Well, I have declared 
unto you both the benefit and the injury you can do; 
and do which you will, God will surely repay you. 

I will not here speak of the pleasure a scholar has, 
apart from any office, in that he can read at home all 
kinds of books, talk and associate with learned men, 
and travel and transact business in foreign lands. 
For this pleasure perhaps will move but few; but 
since you are seeking Mammon and worldly posses- 
sions, consider what great opportunities God has pro- 
vided for schools and scholars; so that you need not 
despise learning from fear of poverty. Behold, em- 
perors and kings must have chancellors, secretaries, 
counsellors, jurists and scholars ; there is not a prince 
but must have chancellors, jurists, counsellors, schol- 


ars, and secretaries; likewise counts, lords, cities, 
states, castles, must have councils, secretaries, and 
other learned men ; there is not a nobleman but must 
have a secretary. And to speak of ordinary scholars, 
where are the miners, merchants, and artisans? At 
the end of three years where are we to find educated 
men, when the want has already begun to be felt ? It 
looks as if kings would have to become jurists, 
princes chancellors, counts and lords secretaries, and 
mayors sextons. 

If we do not soon begin to do something, we shall 
become Tartars and Turks, and ignoramuses will 
again be doctors and counsellors at court. Therefore 
I hold that there never was a better time for study 
than the present, not only because learning is so 
accessible and cheap, but also because great wealth 
and honor must follow ; for those who study at this 
time will become such valuable people that two 
princes and three cities will contend for one scholar. 
If you look about you, you will find innumerable 
offices that will need learned men in less than ten 
years, and yet but few young people are being edu- 
cated for them. 

There is further a divine blessing attached to this 
sphere of activity; for God is pleased with the many 
excellent and useful works that belong to the secular 


condition, and that constitute a divine service. But 
avarice in seeking its end meets with contempt (even 
though its works be not sinful); evil deeds destroy 
all peace of mind, and such a life can not be called a 
service of God. Now I would rather earn ten florins 
with a work that might properly be called a service of 
God, than a thousand florins with a work that could 
not be called a service of God, but a service of self 
and Mammon. 

In addition to this, there is worldly honor. For 
chancellors, scribes, jurists, and the people through 
them, occupy upper seats, help, advise and govern as 
said above, and in fact they here become lords on 
earth, though in person, birth, and station they are 
not so regarded. For Daniel says that he did the 
king's work. And it is true that a chancellor must 
perform imperial, kingly, princely functions and duties, 
a city scribe must do the work of the council and city, 
and that all with honor and the blessing of God, 
which gives happiness and salvation. 

When they are not engaged in war but govern by 
law, what are emperors, kings, princes, (if we speak 
according to their work,) but mere scribes and jurists? 
For they concern themselves about the law, which is 
a legal and clerical work. And who governs the land 
and people in times of peace ? Is it the knights and 


captains? I think it is the pen of the scribe. MeaH" 
while, what is avarice doing with its worship of Mam- 
mon ? It can not come to such honor, and defiles its 
devotees with its rust-covered treasures. 

Thus the emperor Justinian declares that " imperial 
majesty ought not only to be adorned with arms, but 
also to be armed with laws." Observe the peculiar 
phraseology this emperor uses, when he calls the laws 
his weapons, and weapons his adornment, and changes 
his scribes into cuirassiers and warriors. And he 
spoke well ; for the laws are truly the right armor and 
weapons with which to protect the country and 
people, yea, the empire and government, (as has been 
sufficiently shown above,) so that wisdom is better 
than might. And pious jurists are the real warriors 
that preserve the emperor and princes. How many 
passages, if time permitted, might be given from the 
poets and the historians ! Solomon himself in Eccle- 
sisastes ix. 1 5 declares that a poor man by his wisdom 
saved a city from a powerful king. 

Not that I would have soldiers, knights, and what- 
ever else belongs to warfare, despised and repudiated ; 
they also help (where they are obedient) to maintain 
peace and protect the land by force. Every thing has 
its honor before God, and its station and work. 

I must also praise my craft, though I should be cen- 


sured; just as St. Paul constantly praised his office, so 
that many thought he went too far and was proud. 
Whoever wishes to praise and honor soldiers, can find 
ground enough to do so, as I have elsewhere shown 
in strong terms. For I do not like those jurists and 
scribblers who have so high an opinion of themselves 
that they despise or mock other callings, as the ex- 
tortionate priests and other adherents of the Papacy 
have hitherto done. 

We should duly praise all the offices and works 
ordained of God, and not despise one for the sake of 
another; for it is written, "His work is honorable and 
glorious" (Ps. iii. 3). And again. Psalm civ. 24: 
"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom 
hast thou made them all." And especially should 
preachers constantly inculcate such thoughts upon the 
people, school-teachers likewise upon their pupils, 
and parents upon their children, that these may learn 
what stations and offices are ordained of God. When 
they come to understand this, they should not despise, 
mock, or speak evil of them, but honor and esteem 
them. That is pleasing to God, and contributes to 
peace and unity; for God is a great Lord, and has 
many servants. 

On the contrary, we find some conceited soldiers 
that fancy the name scribe is not worthy to be men- 


tioned or heard by them. Well, pay no attention to it, 
but consider that these poor fellows must have some 
kind of pastime and pleasure. Let them make the 
most out of this ; but you still remain a scribe in the 
eyes of God and the world. If they come together for 
any length of time, you see that they bestow the highest 
honor upon the quill, placing a feather on hat or hel- 
met, as if they confessed by that act that the pen is the 
most excellent thing in the world, without which they 
would not be equipped for combat, nor for parade in 
times of peace, much less assemble in security; for 
they must also profit by the peace which the em- 
peror's preachers and teachers (the jurists) maintain. 
Therefore, as you see, they give the place of honor to 
the instrument of our craft (and properly), since they 
gird the sword about the loins ; there it hangs hand- 
somely for their purpose : on the head it would not be 
becoming — there the feather must wave. If they have 
sinned against you, they have thus made atonement 
and should be forgiven. 

The work of the scholar, as I have shown, is not 
appreciated by many ignoramuses; for they do not 
know that it is a divine office and function, nor con- 
sider how necessary and useful it is to the world. 
But let them go, and look about you for wise and 
pious noblemen, as Duke George of Werdheim, Hans 


von Schwartzenberg, George von Fronsberg, and 
Others of blessed memory, (I shall not speak of the 
living,) and comfort yourself in them. Consider that 
cfod, for the sake of one man, Lot, honored the whole 
city of Zoar; for the sake of Naaman, the whole land 
of Syria; and for the sake of Joseph, the whole king- 
dom of Egypt; and why should not you, for the sake 
of many worthy men, honor all the nobility? Think 
rather of the good than of the bad. Do not condemn 
the tree, because perchance some of its fruit falls un- 
timely 'or becomes a prey to worms. 

Thus do the children of God. For God spares the 
whole human race for the sake of one man, who is 
called Jesus Christ. If he were to look on mankind 
alone, there could be nothing but anger. Yet the 
ministry and the civil authorities are necessarily re- 
quired to pay attention to evil, for they should punish 
the wicked; some by reproof, and some by the sword. 
But we should learn to distinguish between what is 
God's work and what is man's wickedness. In all 
divine offices and stations there are many wicked 
men ; but the office still remains good, however much 
men may abuse it. We find, for example, many bad 
women, dishonest servants, and injurious officers and 
counsellors ; and yet all these relations and conditions 
are the work and ordinance of God. The sun remains 


good, though the whole world abuse its light, some to 
rob, some to murder, and some to work other evils. 
Who could do evil if the sun did not give light, if the 
earth did not bring forth fruit, if the air did not 
remain pure, and if God did not thus exercise a con- 
stant care ? It is written, " The creature was made 
subject to vanity, not willingly," Rom. viii. 20. 

There are some who think that the office of scribe 
is an easy, insignificant office, but that to ride in 
armor and suffer heat, frost, dust, thirst, and other dis- 
comforts, is work. Verily that is an old story — no one 
knows where the shoe pinches another ; every one feels 
only his own discomfort, and looks only at the com- 
forts of another. It is true that it would be hard for 
me to ride in armor; but I should like to see the 
knight who could sit still the whole day and look in a 
book, though he were not required to read, think, or 
do any thing. Ask a chancery-clerk, preacher, 
orator, about the labor of writing and speaking; ask a 
school-master about the labor of teaching boys. The 
pen is a light instrument, it is true, and among all the 
trades there is no tool more easily procured than the 
pen; for it needs only a goose-quill, which can be 
found anywhere. But the best part of the body, as 
the head, and the noblest member, as the tongue, and 
the highest function, as speech, must here bear the 


brunt, and do most of the work, while in other occu- 
pations it is the hands, feet, back that labor, and the 
workman can at the same time sing and joke, which a 
writer must forego. Three fingers do it, (as is said of 
writers,) but the whole body and soul work at the 
same time. 

When the ignoramuses about the illustrious emperor 
Maximilian complained that he employed so many 
scribes for embassies and other similar duties, he is 
said to have replied : " What shall I do ? You can 
not be employed, so I must take scribes." And 
further: "I can make knights, but not doctors." I 
have heard also of a wise nobleman who said : " I shall 
let my son study ; there is no great art in straddling a 
horse and becoming a knight, — a thing that is soon 
learned." And that is all well said. 

I do not say this to depreciate the knightly order or 
any other, but to rebuke the ignorant fellows who 
despise all learning and culture, and praise nothing 
but wearing armor and straddling a horse, though 
they are seldom obliged to do it, and hence, the whole 
year through, have comfort, pleasure, honor, and 
money. It is indeed true that learning is light to carry, 
and that armor is heavy to carry; but on the other 
hand, to wear armor is easily learned, but an educa- 
tion is neither quickly acquired nor easily employed. 


But to make an end of this matter, God is a wonder- 
ful sovereign, and it is his plan of work to make lords 
out of beggars, as he made the heaven and earth out 
of nothing; and in this no man will hinder Him, who 
is praised in all the world, as the Ii2th Psalm says: 
"Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth 
on high, who humbleth Himself to behold the things 
that are in heaven and in the earth? He raiseth up 
the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of 
the dunghill ; that He may set him with princes, even 
with the princes of His people." Look at all the 
courts of kings and princes, and in cities and pastor- 
ates, and do you not see this Psalm fulfilled by many 
striking examples? You will there find jurists, doctors, 
counselors, scribes, preachers, who struggled with 
poverty in acquiring an education, and who have risen 
by means of the pen to the position of lords, as this 
Psalm says, and like princes they help to govern the 
land and people. God does not wish that those who 
are born kings, princes, lords, and nobles should alone 
rule, but He desires also to have His beggars share in 
the government; otherwise, they would think that 
noble birth alone made lords and rulers, and that God 
had nothing to do with it. 

It is true, as is sometimes said, that the Pope was once 
a student ; therefore do not despise the boys who beg 


from door to door "a little bread for the love of God,"* 
and when the groups of poor pupils sing before your 
house, remember that you hear, as this Psalm says, 
great princes and lords. I have myself been such a 
beggar pupil, and have eaten bread before houses, 
especially in the dear town of Eisenach, though after- 
wards my beloved father supported me at the Univer- 
sity of Erfurt with all love and self-sacrifice, and by 
the sweat of his face helped me to the position I now 
occupy ; but still I was for a time a poverty student, 
and according to this Psalm I have risen by the pen 
to a position which I would not exchange for that of 
the Turkish sultan, taking his wealth and giving up 
my learning. Yea, I would not exchange it for all 
the wealth of the world many times multiplied; and 
yet, beyond all doubt, I should not have attained my 
present station, if I had not gone to school and learned 
to write. 

Without anxiety, then, let your son study, and if he 
should have to beg bread for a time, you give our God 
material out of which he can make a lord. It will 
remain true that your son and mine, that is to say, 
the children of the common people, will rule the 
world, both in spiritual and secular stations, as this 
Psalm testifies. For wealthy worldlings can not and 

* Panem propter Deum. 


will not do it ; they are the priests and monks of 
Mammon, upon whom they are obliged to wait day 
and night ; princes and lords by birth can not do it 
alone, and especially are they unable to fill the spirit- 
ual office of the ministry. Thus must both spiritual 
and secular government continue on earth in the hands 
of the common people and their children. 

And pay no attention to the contempt which the 
ordinary devotee of Mammon manifests for culture, so 
that he says : " Well, if my son can read, write, and 
cipher, that is enough; for I am going to make a 
merchant out of him ?" Without scholars it would not 
be long till business men in their perplexity would be 
ready to dig a learned man out of the ground ten 
yards deep with their fingers; for the merchant will 
not long remain a merchant, if preaching and the 
administration of justice cease. I know full well that 
we theologians and jurists must remain, or else all 
other vocations will inevitably go to the ground with 
us ; where theologians perish, there perishes also the 
Word of God, and nothing but heathen and devils are 
left; when jurists perish, there perish also law and 
peace, and nothing remains but robbery, murder, 
outrage, and force — the reign of wild beasts. But 
what the merchant will gain when peace vanishes, I 
shall let his ledger tell him ; and the use of all his 


property when preaching ceases, let his conscience 
show him. 

It is a ground of special vexation that such foolish 
and unchristian language is used by those who pre- 
tend to be evangelical, and who know how to beat 
down every opponent with Scripture; and yet, at the 
same time, they do not bestow honor enough upon 
God or their chidren to educate them for these divine 
and exalted offices, through which they could serve 
their Maker and the world, and in which their tem- 
poral wants would be provided for. On the contrary, 
they turn their children away from these callings, and 
urge them to the service of Mammon, in which their 
success is uncertain, their bodies and souls are endan- 
gered, and their lives can in no way be considered a 
service of God. 

I should mention here how many learned men are 
needed in medicine and the other professions, in refer- 
ence to which a book might be written, and six 
months spent in preaching. Where would our 
preachers, jurists, and physicians come from, if the 
liberal arts were not taught? It is from this source 
they all must come. But to speak of this in detail 
would carry me too far. To be brief, an industrious, 
pious school-master or teacher, who faithfully trains 
and educates boys, can never be sufficiently recom- 


pensed, and no money will pay him, as even the 
heathen Aristotle says. Yet this calling is shame- 
fully despised among us, as if it were nothing — and at 
the same time we pretend to be Christians ! 

If I had to give up preaching and my other duties, 
there is no office I would rather have than that of 
school-teacher. For I know that next to the minis- 
try it is the most useful, greatest, and best; and I am 
not sure which of the two is to be preferred. For it is 
hard to make old dogs docile and old rogues pious, 
yet that is what the ministry works at, and must work 
at, in great part, in vain; but young trees, though 
some may break in the process, are more easily bent 
and trained. Therefore let it be considered one of the 
highest virtues on earth faithfully to train the children 
of others, which duty but very few parents attend to 

That physicians in a sense become lords, is every- 
where apparent; and that they can not be dispensed 
with, is taught by experience ; but that medicine is a 
useful, comforting, and salutary profession, and like- 
wise an acceptable and divinely appointed service of 
God, appears not only from the work itself, but also 
from Scripture. The thirty-eighth chapter of Eccles- 
iasticus is devoted to the praise of physicians : " Honor 
a physician with the honor due unto him for the uses 


which you may have of him ; for the Lord hath cre- 
ated him. For of the Most High cometh healing. 
The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; 
and he that is wise will not abhor them. Was not the 
water made sweet with wood, that the virtue thereof 
might be known? With such doth He heal men, 
and taketh away their pains. Of such doth the 
apothecary make a confection ; and of his works there 
is no end," etc. But I am going too far; other 
preachers may develop these points more fully, and 
show the people better than I can write it, what injury 
or benefit may here be done the world and posterity. 
Here I will leave the matter, faithfully admonishing 
and beseeching every one who can to help. For con- 
sider how many blessings God has bestowed upon 
you, — body, soul, house, wife, child, peace, the service 
and use of all His creatures in heaven and in earth — 
above all His Gospel and ministry, baptism, the Lord's 
Supper, and the whole treasure of His Son and Spirit, 
not only without any merit on your part, but also 
without cost or labor — and all bestowed in vain ; for 
you support neither schools nor pastors, though 
according to the Gospel you are under obligation to 
do so; and besides, you show yourselves such ac- 
cursed and ungrateful wretches that you are unwilling 
to give your sons to be educated for maintaining these 



gifts of God, but possess every thing in vain, not 
manifesting a drop of gratitude, but on the contrary 
letting the kingdom of God and the salvation of souls 
be neglected, to their destruction. 

Ought not God to be angry? Ought not famine to 
come? Ought not pestilence, toil, the French, and 
other plagues, to find us out? Ought not savage 
tyrants to reign? Ought not war and strife to arise? 
Ought not bad government to prevail in the German 
states ? Ought not Turks and Tartars to plunder us ? 
Yea, it would be no wonder if God should open the 
doors and windows of hell, and let all the devils loose 
upon us, or if He should rain fire and brimstone from 
heaven and sink us all in the abyss of hell, as He did 
Sodom and Gomorrah. For if Sodom and Gomorrah 
had possessed, and heard, and seen as much as we 
have been blessed with, they would still exist at the 
present day. For they were ten times less guilty than 
Germany is now; for they did not have the Word of 
God and the ministry as we have them — but alas! in 
vain, since we act as if we wished that God, His Word, 
and all discipline and learning, might perish. And 
indeed factious spirits have actually begun to suppress 
God's Word, and the nobility and the rich are work- 
ing to overthrow discipline and honor, that the people 
may suffer as they have deserved. 



To have the Gospel and ministry, what else is it 
than the blood of our Lord? He secured it and pre- 
sented it to us through His agonizing death on the 
cross. Yet we have it in vain, and have done and 
given nothing for it! O God, how bitterly did He 
suffer ! and yet, how willingly ! How much have the 
dear apostles and all the saints suffered for the Gospel, 
that it might be transmitted to us! How many in 
our own time have died for it ! 

And, to boast a little, how often have I been obliged 
to suffer the pains of death for the Gospel, that I 
might serve the German people — but my suffering is 
nothing in comparison with that of Christ, the Son of 
God; and yet He receives nothing further from our 
hands than that some persecute, condemn, and blas- 
pheme this dearly-bought office; while others refuse 
to support the ministry, and give nothing to maintain 
that holy office. Moreover, they turn their children 
away from it, that the office may soon perish, and the 
sufferings and death of Christ become of no effect ; at 
the same time, they live on in security, feel no com- 
punctions of conscience for their more than diabolical 
ingratitude and utterly inexpressible sin, exhibit no 
fear of God's wrath, no love for the dear Saviour on 
account of His bitter sufferings, and yet, after such 
frightful wickedness, they pretend to be evangelical 
Christians ! 


If this deplorable blindness and sin were to con- 
tinue in the German states, I should feel sorry that I 
was born in Germany and that I have spoken and 
written German ; and if I could conscientiously do it, I 
would advise and help the Pope to rule over us again 
with all his abominations, and to oppress, flay, and 
destroy us, even beyond his former tyranny. For- 
merly, when the devil was served, and Christ's blood 
insulted, every purse was open, and there was no 
measure to the contributions made to churches, 
schools, and every abomination; then, too, people 
could urge and force their children into cloisters, 
chapters, churches, schools, with unspeakable cost — 
all of which was lost. 

But now, when good schools and evangelical 
churches are to be established, nay, not established 
but merely maintained (for God has already estab- 
lished them, and given sufficient means for their sup- 
port), when we know that we have God's Word, that 
evangelical churches are to be maintained, that 
Christ's sufferings and death are to be honored : now 
all purses are closed with iron chains, no one can give, 
and children are not even allowed to be supported by 
the Church, (where nothing is to be given,) and they 
are prevented from entering such salutary offices, in 
which their temporal wants would be provided for, 


and in which they would serve God and honor the 
blood of Christ ; on the contrary, they are pushed into 
the jaws of Mammon, they tread the blood of Christ 
under foot, and yet pretend to be Christians ! 

I pray God to take me away, that I may never see 
the sorrow that is to come upon Germany. For I 
believe that if ten men like Moses stood before God 
and prayed for us, it would be of no avail ; and when I 
pray for my dear Germany, I feel that my prayer re- 
bounds, and does not ascend to heaven, as it does when 
I pray for other objects. God grant that I may be a 
false prophet ! These disasters might be averted, if we 
would reform, and honor the Word of the Lord and 
the death of Christ as we have not hitherto done, and 
bring up the young to fill the various offices instituted 
by God. 

But I maintain that the civil authorities are under 
obligation to compel the people to send their children 
to school, especially such as are promising, as has else- 
where been said. For our rulers are certainly bound 
to maintain the spiritual and secular offices and callings, 
so that there may always be preachers, jurists, pastors, 
scribes, physicians, school- masters, and the like; for 
these can not be dispensed with. If the government 
can compel such citizens as are fit for military service 
to bear spear and rifle, to mount ramparts, and per- 


form other martial duties in time of war; how much 
more has it a right to compel the people to send their 
children to school^ because in this case we are warring 
with the devil, whose object it is secretly to exhaust 
our cities and principalities of their strong men, to 
destroy the kernel and leave a shell of ignorant and 
helpless people, whom he can sport and juggle with at 
pleasure. That is starving out a city or country, de- 
stroying it without a struggle, and without its knowl- 
edge. The Turk does differently, and takes every 
third child in his empire to educate for whatever he 
pleases. How much more should our rulers require 
children to be sent to school, who, however, are not 
taken from their parents, but are educated for their 
own and the general good, in an office where they 
have an adequate support. 

Therefore, let him who can, watch; and wherever 
the government sees a promising boy, let him be sent 
to school. If the father is poor, let the child be aided 
with the property of the Church. The rich should 
make bequests to such objects, as some have done, 
who have founded scholarships ; that is giving money 
to the Church in a proper way. You do not thus re- 
lease the souls of the dead from purgatorial fire, but 
you help, through the maintenance of divinely ap- 
pointed offices, to prevent the living from going to 


purgatory — yea, you secure their deliverance from hell 
and entrance into heaven, and bestow upon them tem- 
poral peace and happiness. That would be a praise- 
worthy, Christian bequest, in which God would take 
pleasure, and for which He would honor and bless 
you, that you might have joy and peace in Him. 
Now, my dear Germans, I have warned you enough; 
you have heard your prophet. God grant that we 
may follow His Word, to the praise and honor of our 
dear Lord, for His precious blood so graciously shed 
for us, and preserve us from the horrible sin of in- 
gratitude and forgetfulness of His benefits. Amen. 


Alexander VI., character of, i6. 

Ancient languages, 156, 183, 184; necessary to preser\»e the 
gospel, 186; helpful to ministers, 192 ; advantageous in 
ordinary life, 235. 

Anselm, on method, 85. 

Aristotle, Luther's dislike for, 102, 144 ; estimate of teachers, 

Asceticism, influence of, 75. 

Augsburg Confession, on civil government, 63. 

Battle hymn, Luther's, 96. 

Bequests to education, 270. 

Bible, practically prohibited by the Papacy, 44 ; weapon of the 
Reformers, 56 ; necessitates popular education, 61 ; an 
instrument of culture, 62, 63 ; difficulties of Luther in 
translating, no; to be studied in schools, 147; requi- 
sites for teaching, 148 ; in what languages written, 185 ; 
to be studied, not in commentaries, but in the original, 
189, 191. 

Bismarck on Papal power, 35. 

Boniface VIII., bull Unam Sane tarn, 38. 

Book of Concord, on rule of faith, 55. 

Books, what kinds to be collected in libraries, 207, 

Br6al, Michel, quoted, 62. 

Brethren of Common Life, 85. 

Bull, In Cana Domini, 40. 

Carlyle, on Luther, 112. 

Catalogue, prohibitory, of Roman Catholic Church, 44. 

Catechism, Luther's, 68; value in religious instruction, 121; 
principal parts of, 121 ; place in education, 148 ; how to 
be used, 150. 


2/4 INDEX. 

Celibacy, why rejected by the Reformers, 57. 

Chaucer, description of a pardoner, 25. 

Children, to be brought up for God, 116, 222 ; proper rearing 
of, a religious work, 117 ; how ruined by parents, 125 ; 
neglect of, denounced, 131 ; to be taught the Scriptures, 
147 ; the catechism, 149; not to be perplexed with con- 
troversy, 153; the neglect of, a shame, 177; a sin, 178; 
why often neglected, 179; their pleasure in learning, 
198; sermon on sending to school, 218-270 ; to be edu- 
cated for the Church, 222 ; not all to be so educated, 
234; what done with promising children, 235; to be 
educated for civil government, 244 ; raised to high posi- 
tions by education, 260 ; poor children should be aided, 

Church, corruption of, 14 ; Papal definition of, 32 ; Roman 
organization of, 34 ; church and secular power in Pro- 
testantism, 57; helped by schools, 132; church fathers 
frequently misunderstood Scripture, 188. 

Cities, their duty to maintain schools, 180; authorities urged 
to, 202. 

Comenius, a fundamental educational principle ot, 1 52. 

Common sense, value and nature of, loi. 

Council, Plenary, of Baltimore, 47 ; of Trent, on indulgences, 
27 ; rule prohibiting the Bible, 44. 

Councils, the reformatory, 22. 

Courage, source of, 97. 

Deharbe, on the Reformation, 11. 

Devil, opposed to education, 171, 215 ; corrupted schools, 172; 
encourages the worship of Mammon, 211. 

Diet of Spires, 52 ; of Worms, 53. 

Discipline, domestic, 123 ; to be tempered with love, 123; rod 
not to be spared, 124. 

Discoveries, relation of, to Reformation, 13. 

Dittes, on Luther's pedagogy, 67. 

Domestic training, 11 3-1 17; the basis of social order, 114; a 
divine requirement, 116; areligious work, 117; reasons 

INDEX. 275 

for, 118; difficulties of, 119; in spiritual things, 120; 
home discipline, 123 ; the soul more than the body, 124 ; 
three faults of, 125 ; sum of filial duty, 126 ; Luther's 
high ideal, 126. 

Duty, filial, the sum of, 126. 

Education, popular, and the Papacy, 32-51 ; and Protestantism, 
52-74 ; science of, due to Protestantism, 66 ; in Roman 
and Protestant countries, 70; beginning of, in the United 
States, 71 ; fundamental difference between Protestant 
and Papal, 72; before the Reformation, 75-89; secular 
education in Middle Ages, 79 ; knightly education, 80 ; 
burgher schools, 81 ; female education in the Middle 
Ages, 81 ; condition of, at beginning of the six- 
teenth century, 83 ; in the family, 1 13-127; in spiritual 
things, 120; to be made a pleasure, 122; how ad- 
vanced by Luther, 128; neglect of, denounced, 131; 
two great reasons for, 131 ; compulsory, 136, 269; com- 
prehends three classes of schools, 138; for girls, 138, 
196; public better than private, 141, 197 ; definitions of, 
145 ; studies and methods in, 147-168 ; place of Scrip- 
ture in, 147 ; of catechism, 149; Socratic method, 152; 
to be adapted to child nature, 154; the concrete to 
illustrate the abstract, 155; ancient languages in, 156; 
the mother tongue, 157; rhetoric and logic, 159; history, 
160; natural science, 162; music, 164; gymnastics, 
166; importance of education, 173; reasons for sup- 
porting, 174; a divine command, 176; neglect of, a 
shame, 177; also a sin, 178; value of, to cities, 181 ; to 
civil order, 196; evils of neglecting, 216, 224, 232. 

Eloquence, nature of, 107. 

Erasmus, lack of martyr spirit, 95 ; indifferent to nature, 163. 

Faith, justification by, 57; how viewed by Luther, 58; brings 
the soul into immediate relation to God, 59 ; an element 
of strength, 96. 

Famines, various, referred to, 240. 

Fathers, Church, frequently misunderstood the Scriptures, 188. 

2/6 INDEX. 

Fredet, mutilation of history, 43. 

Gallicanism, 33. 

Germans, religious nature of, 22 ; fundamental traits of char- 
acter, 91. 

Germany, condition of, 176; source of civil law, 245; Luther's 
fears for, 269. 

Gerson, on method, 85. 

Gladstone, on Papal power, 35. 

God in history, 26; enjoins education, 176. 

Good works, in Romanism and Protestantism, contrasted, 231. 

Government, civil, a divine ordinance, 63, 243; Luther on, 
134; schools to be maintained for, 135; needs schools, 
194, 196; ministerial and civil office compared, 242. 

Grammar, office of, i$8. 

Greeks, example in education, 195. 

Gregory VII., on Papal power, 22. Gregory XVI. quoted, 42. 

Groot, Gerhard, 85. 

Guizot, on the Reformation, 12. 

Gymnastics, 166. 

Hegel, on the Reformation, 14. 

Heroes of an epoch, 90. 

Historians, utility and character of, 161. 

History, supplies illustrations, 155; shows God's dealings with 
men, 160. 

Hosmer on Luther as philosopher and poet, 104. 

Hymns of Luther, 105 ; Coleridge on, 105 ; a Jesuit's testimony, 

Index expurgatorius, 44. 

Indulgences, doctrine of, 26, 27; Council ot Trent on, 27; sale 
of, by Tetzel, 28. 

Janssen, Johannes, quoted, 86. 

Jesuits, maxim of, in education, 50; reason for their educa- 
tional activity, 50. 

Judgment Day, 233. 

Justification by faith, 57 ; how viewed by Luther, 58 ; brings 
the soul into immediate relation to God, 59. 


INDEX. 277 

Justinian quoted, 254. 

Knights, education of, 80; knights and scribes compared, 
258; knightly order not to be undervalued, 259. 

Knowledge, of two kinds, 158. 

Languages, ancient, 156, 183: necessary to preserve the Gos- 
pel, 186; helpful to ministers, 192; advantageous in 
ordinary life, 235. 

Leo X., remark of, 15 ; Maximilian's estimate of his character, 

Lessing, on Luther, 98. 

Libraries, 203 ; origin of, 203 ; bad books in, 205 ; what books 
to collect, 206. 

Literature, attitude of, toward the Papacy, 24. 

Logic, office of, 159. 

Luther, ninety-five theses, 29; at Worms, 53; on justification 
by faith, 58 ; religious experience, 58 ; on priesthood of 
believers, 60 ; letter to mayors and aldermen in behalf 
of Christian schools, 67, 169; pedagogy of, 67 ; his cate- 
chisms, 68, 88 ; establishes schools at Eisleben, 68; on 
popular ignorance, 88 ; chapter on, 90 ; the hero of the 
sixteenth century, 91 ; his early career and ability, 92 ; 
called to Wittenberg, 94 ; fitness for his work, 94 ; hon- 
esty of character, 95 ; a man of faith, 96 ; courage of, 
97 ; violence of, 98 ; his style in writing, 100, 1 1 1 ; intel- 
lectual strength, loi ; aesthetic tastes, 102 ; tenderness 
of, 103 ; as a poet, 104 ; domestic life, 106 ; at his 
daughter's death-bed, 107 ; his eloquence, 108 ; conser- 
vative character, 108; industry, 109; apology to his 
printer, no; his toil in translating the Bible, no; sum- 
mary of his character, in ; Carlyle on, 112 ; on domes- 
tic training, 1 13-127; on marriage, 113; on filial obed- 
ience, n4; on the parental relation, 115; who should 
marry, 119; on religious instruction, 120; on domestic 
discipline, 123; on schools, 128-146; how he advanced 
education, 128; on the establishment of schools, 129; 
fundamental reasons for schools, 131 ; on the ministerial 

2/8 INDFV. 

office, 133, 218-222 ; opposed to secularizing schools, 
136; favored compulsory education, 136, 269; three 
classes of schools, 138 ; on female education, 138, 
196, 200; on school training, 141, 197; on teacher's 
vocation, 142 ; ministers should first be teachers, 143 ; 
on ministers, 144, conception of education, 145; on 
studies and methods, 147-168 ; on the study of Scripture, 
147 ; qualifications for teaching Scripture, 148 ; on the 
use of the catechism, 149 ; children not to be perplexed 
with controversy, 153; a student of child-nature, 154; 
the concrete to be used to illustrate the abstract, 155; 
on the ancient lauguages, 156, 183; a teacher of the 
mother tongue, 157; method in language teaching, 
157; on rhetoric and logic, 159; on pedantry, 160; on 
history, 160; appreciation of nature, 162 ; love of music, 
164; on gymnastics, 166; summary of educational 
merits, 167 ; confidence in his mission, 170 ; boasts of 
the Spirit. 193 ; children's delight in learning, 198 ; on 
libraries, 203-208 ; on evils of neglecting education, 
224 ; on civil government, 242, 243 ; praises his craft, 
254 ; a beggar pupil, 261 ; school teaching next to 
preaching, 264 ; his fears for Germany, 269. 

Macaulay, contrast of Papal and Protestant countries, 50 ; on 
poets, 104. 

Mammon, worship of, hurtful to education, 213 ; depreciates 
culture, 262. 

Marriage, Luther on, 113; who should marry, 119. 

Mass, why rejected, 56; false honor of celebrating, 220. 

Massacre of St. Bartholomew misrepresented, 43. 

Maximilian, Emperor, quoted, 259. 

McCarthy, on public schools, 46. 

McGlynn, Rev. Dr., quoted, 49. 

Melanchthon, on popular ignorance, 87; on Luther's elo- 
quence, 108; the Zwickau prophets, 109. 

Methods, of teaching, 147-168 ; how to use the catechism, 150; 
fundamental principle of Comenius, 152; Socratic 

INDEX. 279 

method, 152 ; children not to be perplexed with contro- 
versies, 153; teaching to be adapted to child-nature, 
154 ; learning to be made pleasant, 154; the concrete to 
illustrate the abstract, 155; in teaching language, 157; 
children's delight in learning, to be utilized, 198 ; study 
and labor to be combined, 199. 

Meyer, testimony of, 18. 

Middle Ages, education during, 75-89 ; not to be unduly de- 
preciated, 75; character of, 76; courses of study, 77; 
educational defects, 83 ; character of teachers, 84 ; com- 
mon people neglected, 86. 

Milton, definition of education, 145. 

Ministers, first to be teachers, 143 ; all do not need the highest 
culture, 190; should urge education, 212, 213, 217 ; letter 
to, 215 ; their worth, 229 ; support for, 237 ; lack of, 238. 

Ministry, value of, 133; ordained of God, 218, 219 ; duties of, 
219; to be honored, 221 ; great works of, 224; benefits 
to society, 228, 229 ; support of, 237. 

Monasteries, condition of, 17; multiplication of, 76; benefits 
of, 'JT^ defective instruction, 175. 

Music, Luther's praise of, 164. 

Myconius, description of religious life under the Papacy, 20. 

National feeling, growth of, 24. 

Nature, as viewed by Protestantism, 65, 66. 

Neander, on the mediaeval clergy, 79. 

Niemeyer, definition of education, 145. 

Nuremburg, excellent school of, 211. 

Oath of Papal clergy, 35. 

Obedience, Luther on, 114. 

Papacy, dissoluteness of, 15; legalism, 17; persecutions by, 
19, 23; historical development of, 21, 22; pretension to 
temporal power, 22, 37 ; Babylonish captivity of, 24 ; 
relation to education, 32-51 ; divisions of, 33; primacv 
over the world, 34 ; opposed to American insticuuons, 
36 ; doctrine and discipline of, 36, 37 ; reactionary char- 
acter, 39 ; opposed to religious freedom, 39 ; aims at 

280 INDEX. 

universal supremacy, 40 ; attitude of, toward Protestant- 
ism, 40 ; opposed to intellectual freedom, 42 ; prohibits 
the Bible, 44 ; seeks control of the young, 45 ; attitude 
toward public schools, 46 ; unfavorable to popular edu- 
cation, 49; requires a mediating priesthood, 58. 

Parental relation, 115. 

Parents, selfish, neglect education, 171 ; why they neglect it, 
179; responsibility of, 232 ; share in their children's 
honor, 247 ; God's requirements of, 249 ; shame in ne- 
glecting education, 249; should educate in faith, 261; 
an appeal to, 265. 

Pedantry, condemned, 160. 

Physicians, value of, 264. 

Pius IX., warning against Protestant literature, 43. 

Poets, character of, 104 ; Macaulay on, 104 ; Shakespeare on, 

Preachers, see Ministers. 

Priesthood, mediating, 58; of believers, 59; views of Luther 
on, 60 ; Protestant view of, emancipating the laity, 60. 

Protestantism and popular education, 52-74 ; origin of name, 
52 ; misrepresented by Papists, 54 ; fundamental prin- 
ciples of, 55 ; gives the Bible to laity, 61 ; dignifies life, 
64 ; makes education an interest of Church and State, 
64 ; favors the study of nature, 65 ; the mother of pop- 
ular education, 74. 

Rambler (Catholic), on religions liberty, 41. 

Reformation, causes of, 9-31 ; interests affected by, 9, 10; a 
subject of controversy, 10; Voltaire's view, 10; Roman 
view, 1 1 ; in relation to schools, 67. 

Religion, a personal relation to Christ, 17. 

Revival of learning, 13. 

Rhetoric, to be studied, 1 59. 

Roman Catholic statistics, 48 ; institutions in New York, 48. 

Rome, education in ancient, 181 ; example in education, 195. 

Saxony, School Plan, 68. 

Schiphower, on monastic life, 17. 

INDEX. 281 

Schmid, on Protestant and Papal education, 72. 

Scholars, pleasures of, 251 ; worth not appreciated, 256. 

Schools, monastic, 76, 200; cathedral and parochial, 78; 
burgher schools, 81 ; methods of instruction in Middle 
Ages, 83; character of teachers, 84; condition of, at 
beginning of sixteenth century, 87 ; Luther on, 128-146; 
why to be established, 129 ; helpful to the Church, 132 ; 
necessary for the State, 135 ; not to be secularized, 136; 
to be maintained by the civil authorities, 137 ; three 
kinds contemplated by Luther, 138; schools for girls, 
138 ; school training better than private instruction, 
141 ; studies in, 147-168 ; Scriptures, 147 ; catechism, 
149; controversies to be avoided in, 153; the concrete 
to illustrate the abstract, 155; ancient languages in, 
156; decline of schools, 170; reasons for supporting, 
174: defects of Papal schools, 206 ; results of neglecting, 
216, 232. 

Sermon on sending children to school, 218-270. 

Shakespeare, on poetic genius, 104. 

Smalcald Articles, quoted, 58. 

Society, constitution of, 1 14. 

Socratic method, 152. 

Soldiers, conceited, despise culture, 255. 

Spencer, Herbert, definition of education, 145. 

Spengler, Lazarus, letter to, 210. 

Spires, Diet of, 52. 

Strack, quoted, 84. 

Strong, Dr. Josiah, quoted, 49. 

Studies, Luther on, 147-168 : Scriptures of chief importance, 
147; catechism, 149; ancient languages, 156; the 
mother tongue, 157; rhetoric and logic, 159; history, 
160; natural sciences, 162; music, 164; gymnastics, 
166 ; study and labor to be combined, 199. 

Study, course of, in Middle Ages, 77. 

Syllabus of Errors, on temporal power, 38 ; condemns religious 
toleration, 40 ; condemns public schools, 46. 

282 INDEX. 

Teachers, in Middle Ages, 84; qualifications for teaching 
Scripture, 148 ; not appreciated, 263. 

Teaching, an honorable calling, 142, 264. 

Tetzel, sale of indulgences, and blasphemies, 28. 

Thirty-nine Articles on rule of faith, 56. 

Ultramontanism, character of, 33; in relation to temporal 
power, 37. 

Unam Sanctum, bull, 38. 

Universities, rise of, 82; great number of students, 82; four 
faculties, 83 ; needed reformation, 144 ; defective in- 
struction of, 175. 

Vatican Council, decrees of, 34. 

Voltaire, on the Reformation, 10. 

Votes, Roman Catholic, 48. 

Waldenses, neglect of languages, 156, 194. 

Walther von der Vogelweide, quoted, 25. 

Words versus things, 158. 

Zwickau prophets, 109. 

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Luther on education 

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Luther on education